Teesside link for turbine plant
THE world's first plant for assembling offshore turbines on land, slashing production costs and speeding up installation as the UK struggles to meet its wind energy targets, could be built on Teesside.
Welsh-based Xanthus Energy is working with Able UK at Billingham on a feasibility study for a facility that could create up to 300 jobs and galvanise the UK’s turbine production.
The facility would assemble giant turbines for the next wave of North Sea windfarms onshore at a fraction of offshore labour costs.
Dr Lewis Lack, MD of Xanthus Energy, said: “This facility would essentially eliminate offshore work, build turbines much faster, at reduced cost and with less risk. There is nothing like this anywhere in the world.
“We recognise there’s a heritage of engineering in the area that we want to build on and give industry an opportunity to regenerate itself with new green jobs. We hope to attract other suppliers to build up a cluster.”
There are also opportunities on the UK’s west coast, he added - but the lion’s share of the Crown Estate’s latest round three announcements for offshore wind licensing were in the North Sea. “It makes sense to build on the coast nearest to the windfarms.”
Offshore installation vessels can cost up to £75,000 a day, but Xanthus Energy’s patented technology, which has been proven by its oil and gas specialist sister company Ocean Resource, is proving a less costly alternative.
Up to 150 turbines a year could be built with just one production line at the new facility, helping meet UK 2020 targets of 200 installations a year.
“We believe we can shave off £1m a turbine, around 8-10% of its cost, making production much more competitive,” said Dr Lack.