The Government plans to provide £30M in grants to support the wind energy project, which would:
* Examine prototype assembly, onshore and offshore testing of Mitsubishi’s 6 MW second wind turbine technology;
* Develop third generation offshore wind power technology with a UK-based Mitsubishi Offshore Wind Centre for Advanced Technology;
* Design and develop large composite offshore wind turbine blades, and associated production techniques.
Should wind turbines manufacture be based in the UK, which the government says is a ‘strong contender’, then 1,500 additional jobs would be created.
Mandelson and Miliband also announced new funding of £18.5M for an offshore wind farm test site in the North East of England.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: “Mitsubishi’s investment in wind turbine R&D and the creation of 200 highly skilled jobs is great news for our future plans in low carbon, high technology industries. The UK is now well placed to manufacture the wind turbines needed for the next generation of offshore wind farms. We will continue to work with Mitsubishi to secure production in the UK.
“I’m delighted that we are also supporting the wind test site in the North East. Coming on top of funding for Narec announced in the Pre-Budget Report, it further strengthens the North East’s position as a leader in the offshore wind farm sector.”
Mitsubishi senior executive vice president Mr Ichiro Fukue said: “Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe is delighted to be working in partnership with the UK Government to create this exciting opportunity for the development of world-class offshore wind energy technology in the UK.
“MHI’s Ship Building division is interested in entering the offshore wind installation and operation and maintenance vessel market. We have been working with UKTI for some time and we look forward to further growing our offshore wind business with UK-based partner and supply chain businesses from 2010, bringing much needed competition into the offshore wind turbine supply market, and economic benefit to the UK,” he said.
British Wind Enery Association Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said: “This tremendous commitment from Mitsubishi and the UK Government follows last week’s major announcement of the start of the new Clipper Windpower factory in Newcastle upon Tyne, which will be home to the largest wind turbine blade in the world.”
Lord Mandelson said the announcement was a "real opportunity" for the UK to become a world leader, adding: "No country makes offshore wind turbines of the size we are talking about today on a commercial scale.
"Twenty years ago the UK was a leading centre for onshore wind technology, but we failed to capitalise on that by not providing the right climate for growth.
"We are determined not to let that happen again. We are creating the largest market in the world for offshore wind power and we intend to build and support the industry."
Mr Miliband said: "This decision by Mitsubishi is a sign that the UK is starting to turn its leadership in offshore wind energy generation into leadership in manufacturing.
"We have the wind resource and we now have an industry that is really starting to grow. This is possible because of our domestic market and our commitment to supporting companies that locate here. It is another step to turning Britain into a leading green manufacturing centre."
Mr Fukui said: "Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe is delighted to be working in partnership with the UK Government to create this exciting opportunity for the development of world-class offshore wind technology in the UK.
"We have been working with UK Trade and Investment for some time and we look forward to further growing our offshore wind business with UK-based partner and supply chain businesses from 2010, bringing much needed competition into the offshore wind turbine supply market, and economic benefit to the UK."
The Government also announced £18.5m funding for an offshore wind test site off the coast near Blyth which will test blades up to 328ft (100m) long.