Go-ahead for Siemens UK wind hub

Siemens has received the go-ahead for its £310m ($510m) turbine plant in northeast England.

Hull City Council approved the plant at Associated British Ports' Green Port Hull complex at the Alexandra Docks on the Humber River.

The complex, expected to be running at full capacity in 2017, will ultimately encompass construction, assembly and service facilities at the 54-hectare dock site, as well as a new rotor blade fabrication hall in nearby Paull.

The facilities, being built for series production of the German OEM's giant 6MW SWT-6.0-154 turbines, will turn out 300 machines a year for the UK offshore market, starting with Dong's 210MW Westermost Rough project off eastern England.

"These works represent an important step in the overall programme which will be progressed in coming months and years," says Siemens project director Finbarr Dowling.

"This is a key project for the region, for the UK wind industry and for the UK in helping to deliver the future low carbon economy."

Hull councillor Steven Brady adds: "Today's decision marks a crucial step forward in our plans for establishing Hull as the UK's Energy Estuary.

"This [project] will not only make a huge difference to the city's economy, but also help transform green energy and ensure that Hull is the market leader for the UK's offshore wind industry."

Through Hull's £26m Green Port Growth Programme, the city is partnering several organisations to deliver funding and training programmes to help equip local workers for the 1,000 new jobs expected to be created by the Siemens project.

First slated to be up and running by 2014-15, the turbine maker now foresees initial fabrication at the blade hall in 2016, with full production capacity at the whole complex a year later.

The Green Port Hull area continues to be in the frame for future development by Siemens, with acreage open for tower and jacket fabrication facilities, as a well as a high-capacity nacelle manufacturing plant.

The site has an 11.5-metre draught and a tidal range of three to eight metres, making it a good fit for the largest turbine installation vessels.