Siemens Gamesa has halted production at its Hull facility in northeast England in one of the most tangible impacts to the offshore wind sector so far from the coronavirus crisis.
The wind OEM has “decided to pause production operations to review safety measures in the light of new government guidelines”, a spokeswoman told Recharge.
The UK has in recent days been ratcheting up efforts to keep citizens at home and enforce ‘social distancing’ measures to keep those gathering for work apart.
With a blade factory and assembly hub and employing 1,000 people, Hull is the UK’s largest offshore wind turbine facility serving giant projects in the North Sea including the 1.4GW Hornsea 2, which is set to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it enters service in 2022.
Siemens Gamesa opened the Hull facility in 2016 after a £310m ($380m) investment.
The UK's other key offshore wind equipment factory, MHI Vestas’ blade plant on the Isle of Wight off southern England, is still operating, a spokesman told Recharge.
“As of this moment, we expect to continue operating with only minor disturbances in the short-term,” said a MHI Vestas spokesman.
“We are also in close dialogue with our customers about the ongoing Covid-19 situation. For the time being, we have, in collaboration with our customers, been able to overcome the immediate challenges and thereby live up to our overall commitments.”
The update on Hull came as Siemens Gamesa told Recharge the majority of its global facilities were operating. The OEM’s facilities in China have resumed operations after being shut at the start of the epidemic last year.
Two of its plants in Spain – San Fernando and Aoiz – remain closed and the company has halted production in India in line with a national lockdown.