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Offshore wind: a global industry investing in the Isle of Wight

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Clean growth, Good work, Grand Challenges, People, Places, Sector Deals

The Solent holds a special place in the UK’s history as a global trading nation. For centuries, the Solent built the ships which powered UK trade across the globe and provided a port for the industries that have grown up around this trade hub.

This industrial cluster is now home to businesses which are putting the UK at the forefront of a global industry of the future and are already delivering clean growth and investment in the region.

Nestled on the Isle of Wight is the MHI Vestas Offshore Wind facility which manufactures 80-metre plus-long blades for the most powerful wind turbines in the world.

We are increasing our capacity to deliver our growth ambitions and we now employ over 600 people on the Isle of Wight.

Exporting wind power overseas

As well as supplying the UK market, we’ve exported blades to projects across Europe, including Germany, Denmark and Belgium.

A vital element in our success in the UK has been working with our supply chain of expert and innovative companies in the Solent. Hampshire-based Incom, for example, produces components for our V164 blades.

The partnership with MHI Vestas has helped Incom grow from employing 12 people back in 2009 to over 30 now –increasing their capacity in line with the expansion of our operations on the Isle of Wight.

Ambition and long-term planning are key to delivering continued growth in our industry.

Sector Deal sets out a vision for the sector

The newly announced Offshore Wind Sector Deal sets out a vision for offshore wind to become the backbone of the UK’s power system, with capacity set to treble to at least 30GW by 2030 – providing over a third of our annual power needs.

Jobs in the sector will more than double to 27,000 and the industry will build on our world-leading expertise to increase exports five-fold, as global demand for offshore wind booms.

At MHI Vestas, we are investing in new capacity to deliver the ambitions set out in the sector deal.

We are doubling manufacturing capacity on the Isle of Wight and recruiting for another 140 people to join our team – bringing the number of total jobs we support on the island to nearly 1,000 – and investing over £1 million in training.

Just across the Solent in Fawley, we are investing in a new finishing plant where blades are painted and treated, ready to be shipped to projects around the UK and Europe.

Our partners in the Solent are sharing in this investment. Southampton-based Williams Shipping will transport blades from the IOW to the advanced painting facility at Fawley and then on to Portsmouth Docks for shipping.

And Portsmouth-based MMD Shipping Services is diversifying beyond its core fruit cargo business, signing a 10-year contract to handle blades at Portsmouth Docks.

Clean growth, based on decarbonising our economy, is a global opportunity

Eighty-five per cent of investment in new power sources will be in low-carbon, and we’re already seeing the UK’s renewable and low carbon industries growing three times faster than rest of the economy.

The Offshore Wind Sector Deal sets the framework for our sector to maintain long-term growth at home and help businesses in the UK new export opportunities.

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