U.K. Government to Help Fund Offshore Wind Component Factories

The British government will provide grants to SeAH Wind Ltd. and Smulders Projects U.K. to build factories producing components for offshore wind farms.

Britain, the world’s second-biggest offshore wind market after China, is seeking to quadruple its capacity by the end of the decade. The government also wants to bolster its manufacturing base as it seeks to offset the economic fallout from Brexit.

The U.K. will provide 117 million pounds ($161 million) to SeAH Wind and 70 million pounds to Smulders, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said in a statement Wednesday. That will add to 180 million pounds of private investment and help create and safeguard more than 1,000 jobs, it said.

“With the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, we are determined to grow and nurture a strong, world-class manufacturing base,” Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.

SeAH’s factory on the Humber will make monopiles, a foundation for offshore wind turbines that aren’t currently made in the U.K., while Smulders’ plant near Newcastle will manufacture transition pieces, a steel pipe that also forms part of the foundation.

Companies developing offshore wind farms will need to prove that they’ve sourced components from the U.K. to be eligible to participate in the next subsidy round that’s due at the end of this year.

China’s Envision Group said on July 1 it’s considering building an offshore wind turbine factory in Britain. If plans go ahead, it would be Envision’s first factory in Europe. GE announced in March that it will build a new factory that will make hundreds of giant blades destined for wind turbines in the North Sea in northeast England in 2023.

Envision Eyes Building Offshore Wind Turbine Factory in U.K.

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