Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has officially inaugurated its nacelle plant in Cuxhaven, Germany, at a ceremony attended by the German Federal Minister of Economics and Energy, Peter Altmaier, together with additional politicians and members of the company’s Board. At this ultra-modern production facility, Siemens Gamesa assembles the nacelles for wind turbines used at sea. The processes in the plant as well as the transport to the marine wind power plants are particularly efficient in order to further reduce the costs of electricity generated on the open water.
This plant is the largest production facility of its kind in Germany. With a total investment of around 200 million euros, the Cuxhaven factory is expected to employ some 850 people in and at the Cuxhaven plant by the end of this year. More than half of these employees will work directly in manufacturing. Construction work on the 55,000 square meter factory began in June 2016 and production has been underway since mid-2017, initially during the usual ramp-up phase.
“With our new plant in Cuxhaven, Siemens Gamesa is sending a clear signal regarding the power of renewable energy. Numerous innovations continue to make offshore wind power even more competitive with other sources of industrial power generation. Lowering the Levelized Cost of Energy from offshore wind is a key focus area for us, benefitting our customers, ratepayers, and society-at-large,” says Markus Tacke, CEO of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. “Today I would like to thank our energetic employees here in Cuxhaven and in the company for their untiring commitment. We would also like to thank the numerous supporters of the project in politics and at Siemens AG as well as our committed partners.”
The new Siemens Gamesa offshore nacelle factory is built in close proximity to the edge of the Germany North Sea port, allowing the direct transport of large and heavy wind turbine components by ship from the plant to wind power plants at sea. The specially-built transport ship Rotra Vente is an elementary component of the Ro/Ro (Roll on/ Roll off) logistics concept developed by Siemens Gamesa. Compared with conventional road transport and crane loading, the Ro/Ro significantly increases safety and saves around 20 percent of logistics costs.
The production processes in the 32-metre-high factory building are also trimmed for efficiency. A digital material flow control ensures short service life and availability of all components in the correct sequence. Modern industrial robots equip the generators with magnets and thus ensure optimum product quality. Digital systems are used in numerous test processes and to document the individual production steps.
Federal Minister of Economics and Energy, Peter Altmaier, who had sent State Secretary Enak Ferlemann to the inauguration ceremony due to short-term appointments, emphasizes: “With its new plant, Siemens Gamesa is impressively demonstrating that offshore wind energy has developed into a powerful and competitive industry. From a niche product of the 1990s, an industry has emerged that has become an important part of German machine building sector.”
“I’m excited to see what Siemens Gamesa has created here. And this modern production plant is just the beginning: We have opened the areas directly along the shipping road in Cuxhaven for industrial settlements and will further develop the harbor into Germany’s offshore base port,” says Stephan Weil, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony.
“With Siemens Gamesa’s inauguration of the world’s largest plant for offshore wind turbine nacelles here in Cuxhaven, we have achieved another major milestone in the development of the German Offshore Industry Center. The longstanding efforts of the city of Cuxhaven, the state of Lower Saxony and the EU to create optimal conditions for the offshore wind industry have made our vision of the future, to establish a new technology in the sense of the energy transition in Cuxhaven, a reality by locating Siemens Gamesa. This positive infrastructure development already allows us to feel far-reaching and considerable positive regional-economic added value and employment effects and to enhance the advantages of the location. We as the city of Cuxhaven look forward with confidence and thank all those who have taken this big step with us so far,” says Dr. Ulrich Getsch, Lord Mayor of the city of Cuxhaven.
“Both industrial value creation and innovation are taking place in the wind industry and highly qualified jobs are being created – like here in Cuxhaven. Siemens Gamesa has reached global leadership in the industry within a short period of time. This is also our claim as the main shareholder: Siemens Gamesa should grow and be an active driver of the energy transition as a technology leader. To ensure innovativeness of this still young industry, however, the transition to more market-driven structures must be made with a sense of proportion,” says Michael Sen, member of the Board of Directors at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and responsible member of the Managing Board at Siemens AG.
Globally, SGRE has the largest record track in the sector among offshore turbine manufacturers. With a capacity of over 11GW installed and pioneer projects dating back to 1991, the company has established itself as the leader in the offshore market.