GE Renewable Energy has started up a second blade fabrication line at its factory in Cherbourg, France, boosting manufacturing capacity for the 107-metre model being flown by it giant Haliade-X offshore wind turbine.

The new lay-up mould, which has passed its prototype testing, is part of ongoing investment in upgrading the plant, including an extension of the site with an additional hall for finishing blades before they are shipped.

The LM 107.0 P blade design, devised by GE-owned LM Wind Power, was the first sector model longer than 100 metres.

LM Wind Power CEO Olivier Fontan said: “The arrival of the second 107-meters mould at the factory marks an increased activity in Cherbourg. Our teams here are thrilled to take an active role in the energy transition and to be part of the successful journey for GE’s Haliade-X turbine.”

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The Cherbourg factory, the first blade manufacturing site in France when it was opened in April 2018, is recruiting a further 200 employees in time with the start-up of the second blade fabrication line, targeting 800 in total.

The Haliade-X began life in 2018 as a 12MW machine and has since been scaled-up to operate 14MW, with a 15MW version soon to be ready. The machine is in the frame for several of the largest offshore wind power projects on the planet, including the 3.6GW Dogger Bank off the UK.