Gamesa in talks to open UK factory

Gamesa, the Spanish wind turbine company, is being urged by Iberdrola, the owner of Scottish Power, to build a manufacturing facility to serve the British wind power market.

The government has been trying hard to attract inward investors to supply the planned development of offshore wind energy. The opening of a wind turbine factory, according to Financial Times, would boost hopes of creating green jobs, when Vestas of Denmark shut the UK’s only big wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight, with the loss of more than 600 jobs.

The government has for months been in talks with leading wind turbine manufacturers, including Siemens of Germany, GE of the US,  and Mitsubishi of Japan.

Gamesa is dominant in the Spanish onshore wind farm market. Last week, it announced a tie-up with BARD, a German company that specialises in offshore wind energy, to create a joint venture to break into international markets.

BARD specialises in offshore wind power technology and adopts an end-to-end approach, from turbine design through manufacturing, logistics, and wind farm construction, operation and maintenance. BARD owns a wind offshore portfolio of 5,000 MW in different stages of development in Germany and the Netherlands.

BARD has developed a 5 MW offshore wind turbine (certified by Germanischer Lloyd), one of the largest and most reliable turbines available in the market. Three prototypes have been installed in Germany since 2007. BARD’s R&D department is currently developing a new 6.5 MW offshore wind turbine, which will commence testing in 2010.

Offshore wind farms now being built, such as the London Array in the Thames estuary, set to be the world’s largest, generally use a 3.6 MW wind turbine built by Siemens. As a result, most of the €2bn (£1.8bn) of contracts for the project are going to Denmark and Germany.

The government says it is offering attractive support packages to manufacturers considering coming to Britain. Iberdrola plans to be one of the largest investors in offshore wind power in Britain, having a half share in a project to develop up to 7,200 MW of capacity off the coast of East Anglia. Mr Galan said he wanted the wind turbines for the project to be sourced locally.

Gamesa has installed over 16,000 MW of its wind turbines in twenty countries spread out over four continents. With a portfolio of almost 23,000 MW of wind power in different stages throughout Europe, America and Asia, Gamesa is also well positioned as one of the world’s most important companies in wind farm development.

Gamesa has production centers located in Europe, Asia and North America with an international workforce of around 6,500 employees.

Iberdrola will strengthen its presence in UK through growth mainly in renewables. Iberdrola Renovables –with 802 MW operational and 5,250 MW projected- has been awarded a zone for offshore wind development with potential to be among the largest in the world (up to 7,200 MW).

Iberdrola’s installed capacity in the UK rose 1.7% in 2009 to 6,818 MW, with the startup of new renewable energy installations. Iberdrola Renewables, together with its partner Vattenfall, has been awarded the development rights for what is potentially one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world, with a capacity of up to 7,200 MW in the North Sea.

The zone, named the East Anglia Array, is one of nine to have been awarded by the Crown Estate in a third round of offshore wind energy licensing.

The future wind farm will potentially have the capacity to supply electricity to nearly 5 million households and could obtain its first permits from 2012 with construction phase initiating in 2015.

Through its ScottishPower Renewables subsidiary, the Company is already the leading developer and generator of onshore wind power in the country with capacity of 802 MW (a rise of 20% over 2008), and operates the largest wind farm in Europe, at Whitelee in Scotland.