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12 November 2014, 14:12
Offshore wind turbine blades will be produced on the Isle of Wight as part of an industrial strategy which will provide 800 jobs in the UK, it has been announced.
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Danish wind company Vestas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said production of the 80 metre (260ft) blades for huge eight megawatt (MW) turbines could begin as early as the second quarter of 2015.
The blades were designed, manufactured and tested at Vestas' Isle of Wight research and development facility which opened in 2011, two years after the company closed its onshore wind turbine plant in Newport on the island with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
The announcement by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, which is leasing the facility's production hall for making the blades, is part of a wider industrialisation strategy in the UK which the firm said will add £200 million to the economy and will safeguard or create up to 800 jobs.
Chief executive Jens Tommerup said the agreement underlined MHI Vestas Offshore Wind's commitment to the UK offshore wind market.
``We are extremely pleased to publicly announce the first stage of our industrial strategy here in the UK, the world's largest offshore wind market.
``MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will become the first manufacturer with the capacity to serial produce blades for future offshore wind projects in the UK, and we look forward to sharing further aspects of our industrial strategy in due course.''
UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: ``The energy sector is powering Britain's economic recovery - the UK is already the world leader for investing in offshore wind, and 2,250 green jobs were created this year in our wind industry.
``The blades that MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will manufacture are being designed, tested and produced in the UK.
``This is another great example of how our offshore wind industry is attracting global investment - not just in building the turbines themselves but right across the supply chain and right across Britain.''
Industry body RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: ``This is great news for the Isle of Wight and UK, and demonstrates what we have always said, that there is a real opportunity to build a world-leading supply chain in the UK.
``Now we need to make sure, in the run-up to the general election, that politicians from all parties state their commitment to offshore wind and look to maximise the economic benefits from development of our great natural resource, in order to make certain this opportunity and others like it.''