UK offshore turbine project awarded £100million

Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe has announced it is to invest £100million in a UK based offshore turbine project.

The Japanese engineering organisation says that the R&D project will create up to 200 jobs by 2014 and will be the first step in building turbines for the next generation of offshore wind farms.

The government's Department of Energy and Climate Change said in a statement: "By working closely with Mitsubishi, the UK is a strong contender to be a manufacturing base for Mitsubishi in the future, which could create up to 1,500 new jobs." The statement added that the government intends to provide grants of up to £30m to support the project. This funding will come from the government's £950m Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), although any grants will be subject to European Commission approval.

Mitsubishi's project will include prototype assembly, onshore and offshore testing of its 6MW second generation technology; development of offshore wind technology with the establishment of a UK based Mitsubishi Offshore Wind Centre for Advanced Technology. The centre will carry out design and development of large composite offshore wind turbine blades, and associated production techniques.

Mitsubishi senior executive vice president Ichiro Fukue and MPSE chief executive Akio Fukui said that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' ship building division is interested in entering the offshore wind installation and operation and maintenance vessel market.

Fukue said: "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."

The government also announced new funding of £18.5m for an offshore wind test site off the coast from the Narec test centre in Blythe in the North East of England.
The site will act as a technology demonstration and development platform for the next generation of large multi-megawatt offshore wind turbines, the government says.
It will complement Narec's new blade test that will enable the testing of blades up to 100m in length. "These world leading testing facilities will make the UK a prime location for companies such as Mitsubishi," the government added.

Chris Shaw

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