Hull’s Siemens factory produces first batch of wind turbine blades
Adam Vaughan, Thursday 1 December 2016.
A new £310m factory in Hull that makes wind turbine blades has been hailed by ministers as proof that manufacturing has a “glittering” future in the UK. The first batch of 75-metre blades have emerged from the plant, part of a vast “green port” built by Siemens and partners at docks that used to export Yorkshire coal. The facility, which started operating in September, is due to employ 1,000 by the new year, up from 700.
The investment is considered a huge boost for a port area that had declined into a wasteland and a city with one of the UK’s highest unemployment rates. Stephen Brady, the city council’s leader, said the plant, combined with Hull being named city of culture for 2017, was a positive “perfect storm”.
“This place is proof that manufacturing in this country and in this great city has a glittering, hi-tech future,” said the business and energy secretary, Greg Clark, at the site’s inauguration on Thursday.
Siemens’ £310m Hull plant will take windfarm technology to new level. Everything about Alexandra Docks is big, from the 90-metre turbine towers that stand waiting to be floated out in January to a windfarm off the coast of Cromer, Norfolk, to the blade factory itself, which spans an area the size of seven football pitches.
Inside its cavernous halls sit the 28-tonne blades under construction, made of balsa wood and fibreglass. Hundreds will be built there each year, destined for bigger, more powerful offshore windfarms in deeper waters up and down the UK’s coast.