US giant General Electric (GE) has revealed plans to expand its offshore wind capabilities in Germany, Sweden, Norway, and particularly the UK.
The UK will be the greatest beneficiary, with plans to establish offshore wind manufacturing and creating some 2,000 jobs.
President and chief executive of GE International Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco said: “Offshore wind will play a vital role in meeting the growing global demand for cleaner, renewable energy and has a bright future here in Europe.
“These investments will position us to help develop Europe’s vast, untapped offshore wind resources, while also creating new jobs for both GE and our suppliers,” he said.
The £304M (€340M) investment would mean £98M (€110M) for a UK manufacturing plant, following: “The successful outcome of the U.K. government’s infrastructure competition, aimed at supporting the development of renewable energy in the United Kingdom,” according to a GE statement.
Manufacture will focus on the construction of GE’s new 4MW offshore turbine, which is in turn derived from GE’s acquisition of ScanWind in September last year.
“GE’s proven reliability on more than 13,500 land units coupled with ScanWind’s proven offshore, gearless design enables us to provide our customers the reliable solutions necessary for the offshore wind industry,” said GE’s vice president—renewable energy for Power & Water, Victor Abate.
“These announcements lay the foundation for us to begin scaling our offshore business, technology and supply chain locally in Europe where we see the greatest growth opportunity,” he said.
Other investments will include:
- Germany - a £95M (€105M) development and engineering in Saltzberg and Munich
- Norway - £67M (€75) Offshore Technology Development Centre in Oslo
- Sweden - £44.7M (€50M) Conceptual and Systems Design Centre in Karlstad
A test site is already operating at Hundhammerfjellet, Norway, for more than five years.
Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, Tom Delay “GE’s announcement today turns the vision of the UK as an industrial hub for the offshore wind industry into a reality. It provides proof that offshore wind presents a huge economic opportunity for the UK.
“Analysis from the Carbon Trust shows that with continued commitment from industry and government to work together, the offshore wind industry could be employing 70,000 people in the UK by 2020, creating a net economic benefit of £65bn for the country over the next 40 years,” he said.