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Mitsubishi enters UK wind market

Japanese giant Mitsubishi has pledged to invest some £100M in new wind turbine research and development by 2014.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband today signed a non binding memorandum of understanding with Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Ltd to invest up to £100M in an offshore wind turbine project in the UK, creating some 200 highly skilled jobs.

The Government plans to provide £30M in grants to support the project, which would:

  • Examine prototype assembly, onshore and offshore testing of Mitsubishi’s 6MW second generation technology;
  • Develop third generation offshore wind technology with a UK-based Mitsubishi Offshore Wind Centre for Advanced Technology;
  • Design and develop large composite offshore wind turbine blades, and associated production techniques.

Should turbines manufacture be based in the UK, which the government says is a ‘strong contender’, then 1,500 additional jobs would be created.

Mandelson and Miliband also announced new funding of £18.5M for an offshore wind test site in the North East of England.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: “Mitsubishi’s investment in wind turbine R&D and the creation of 200 highly skilled jobs is great news for our future plans in low carbon, high technology industries. The UK is now well placed to manufacture the turbines needed for the next generation of offshore wind farms. We will continue to work with Mitsubishi to secure production in the UK.

“I’m delighted that we are also supporting the wind test site in the North East. Coming on top of funding for Narec announced in the Pre-Budget Report, it further strengthens the North East’s position as a leader in the offshore wind farm sector.”

Mitsubishi senior executive vice president Mr Ichiro Fukue said: “Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe is delighted to be working in partnership with the UK Government to create this exciting opportunity for the development of world-class offshore wind technology in the UK.

“MHI’s Ship Building division is interested in entering the offshore wind installation and operation and maintenance vessel market. We have been working with UKTI for some time and we look forward to further growing our offshore wind business with UK-based partner and supply chain businesses from 2010, bringing much needed competition into the offshore wind turbine supply market, and economic benefit to the UK,” he said.

British Wind Enery Association Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said: “This tremendous commitment from Mitsubishi and the UK Government follows last week’s major announcement of the start of the new Clipper Windpower factory in Newcastle upon Tyne, which will be home to the largest wind turbine blade in the world.”

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