Vestas unveils UK expansion plans

In: Windfarms

Following its recent re-entry into offshore wind, Vestas has announced its intentions to expand its UK offshore wind production footprint, contingent on the company's successfully securing sufficient project volume in the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round 4.

The company revealed that it is currently engaged in discussions with potential partners that can supply towers and additional blade manufacturing in the North East of the UK, and has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with several potential partners. Vestas anticipates it could create nearly 2000 direct jobs across the wind turbine manufacturing supply chain, if successful in securing enough project volume.

Henrik Andersen, President and CEO of Vestas, commented: “With over 20 years in the UK, more than 1000 V164 blades now produced from the Isle of Wight for UK and European markets, and significant R&D activity on our cutting-edge blades taking place in the UK, we are truly committed to the UK. We are extremely proud of the onshore and offshore wind expertise that we have built up in the UK and are positive about the market potential being created from the CfD Rounds. If successful in securing enough turbine orders from CfD Allocation Round 4, which includes a strengthened Supply Chain Plan policy for project developers, Vestas is intent on expanding its already sizeable UK footprint. We are in discussions with a number of potential partners and look forward to securing competitive solutions that augment Vestas’ activities in the UK, for delivery of future UK projects”.

Vestas recently celebrated its >20-year history at its Isle of Wight facility in Newport, with the production of its 1,000th offshore wind blade from the facility, a V164-9.5 MW blade destined for the 1,075 MW
Seagreen offshore wind project being developed by SSE Renewables and Total.

Vestas recently announced its next-generation turbine, the V236-15.0 MW turbine, which is due to be powered by 115.5 metre blades. The Isle of Wight manufacturing facility has the potential to be expanded for serial production of the 115.5 metre blades, according to Vestas.

Since 2002, Vestas has manufactured more than 10,000 onshore and offshore blades on the Isle of Wight. Blades produced from the Isle of Wight have been used at both UK projects and exported to European projects. Over £360m worth of blades has been exported for North European offshore wind projects from the Isle of Wight since 2014. Over the years, Vestas has invested close to £1bn with UK suppliers, including more than £100m per year since 2017.

Alongside existing and potentially future manufacturing and supplier activities, Vestas has also carried out blade technology research and development (R&D) for its latest turbine blade models on the Isle of Wight for the past 20 years, at a blade technology R&D centre located in West Medina Mills. This centre has been essential in the design and testing of 8 different blades types, including its latest onshore and offshore turbine platforms. Vestas currently employs over 1500 people in the UK, spanning blade manufacturing, R&D, construction, service and other vital functions, over 700 of which are employed on the Isle of Wight.

Vestas has installed over 5.3 GW of wind turbines in the UK already, and is currently supplying several projects with blades from its Isle of Wight facility. Current installation projects include the 857 MW
Triton Knoll and 950 MW Moray East wind projects currently under construction, and the 1,075 MW Seagreen project, due to be Scotland’s largest renewable energy project once installed.

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