Clipper Windpower to build the world?s largest wind turbine blade in Newcastle (10 MW), initially creating 500 jobs

BWEA (RenewableUK), the UK’s leading trade association, welcomed today’s announcement from US company Clipper Windpower on plans to build the world’s largest wind turbine blade in Newcastle, for its proprietary 10 megawatt (MW) Britannia wind turbine. Each Britannia wind turbine will be able to satisfy the annual electricity consumption of over 6500 households. The factory building the blades will be based on Tyneside, creating 500 jobs by 2020.

BWEA (RenewableUK) also pointed out that Clipper’s factory joins a growing number of UK businesses capitalising on the economic opportunities presented by the onshore and offshore wind energy supply chain. Recently, companies such as Mabey Bridge and JDR Cable Systems have announced a significant increase in manufacturing capacity to service the burgeoning wind energy sector, with further interest from other potential entrants.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: "Wind energy presents a significant opportunity for the UK economy, leading to between 60,000 and 70,000 new jobs by 2020. The potential 40+ gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power alone could supply over a third of our country’s electricity. Clipper’s pioneering example demonstrates that it is possible to attract investment on the back of a world-class research institution, and co-ordinated action by a number of regional and central Government agencies."

In 2008 Clipper Windpower established a research and development facility at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) in Blyth, 15 miles from Newcastle. In January 2010 the UK Government announced a potential to develop 40 GW+ of offshore wind energy in UK waters. The industry is confident that the UK, which already holds the worldwide lead in terms of offshore installed wind capacity, could have at least 20 GW installed by 2020.

"We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to seize the lead in an exciting and lucrative emerging sector. Various agencies are estimating the short-term potential of European offshore wind power at 150 GW. If the industry and Government act in concert now, we could be securing both the future of our energy independence and our manufacturing", concluded McCaffery.

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown also announced today a further £8 million in funding for offshore wind energy which will be "invested in projects to support the development of a new generation of wind turbines (and) in addition to the £18 million already awarded."

BWEA is rebranding and on 17 December 2009 adopted the name RenewableUK. The rebranding process is scheduled to be completed by 4 March 2010. BWEA (RenewableUK) is the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association with 565 corporate members.

Annual offshore electricity production figures are based on 2008 offshore load factors of 35% (source: DUKES) and average household electricity consumption of 4391 kWh (source: DUKES).

For information on the European potential for offshore wind development see:

Full announcement on offshore wind farms funding: