11 May 2011

Vestas wind turbine group plans 2,000 UK jobs

As the Bank of England cuts its growth forecast, there is some good news for Britain’s manufacturing industry with the announcement that wind turbine giant Vestas wants to create 2,000 new jobs.

Wind turbine firm Vestas plans to create 2,000 jobs (Getty)

The Danish-owned firm is applying for planning permission for a new plant at Sheerness in Kent to build turbines for the offshore wind industry.

Vestas said the project will go ahead provided it receives enough orders for its purpose-built offshore turbine.

A spokesman said: “Vestas has shown our willingness and commitment to making major investments benefiting the UK, but Vestas alone cannot make it happen.”

The company said the plan was reliant on market and regulatory certainty and public investment to reduce the risk of building a facility of such a size.

Manufacturing boost

The news was announced on the same day the Bank of England cut its growth forecast and warned of increased energy prices.

The Bank downgraded its expectations for gross domestic product in 2011 to around 1.7 per cent, from about 2 per cent in its February report.

Read more: Is the Bank of England being too optimistic?

Growth in the UK’s manufacturing sector slowed in April despite it being one of the best performing areas of the economy following the recession.

Senior market analyst at M&C Energy, Paul Love, told Channel 4 News today’s announcement by Vestas was positive: “The UK’s natural resources mean we should be at the forefront of developing renewable technology.”

But he warned that the costs involved in offshore renewable energy meant any reduction in household energy bills was unlikely.

UK Government policy

On Monday the Government’s climate advisers indicated ministers should slow the planned roll-out of offshore wind because of its expense.

Anders Soe-Jensen, president of Vestas Offshore, said that would not help the company’s plans.

“We have shown our intentions to make major investments and subsequent job creation, but it is evident that we don’t just jump head-first into an investment of this size.

“Before our customers can provide us with the needed order pipeline, they need to see stability in the market and a long-term political and regulatory certainty that ensures their business case.

“Making that happen lies in the hands of the policy-makers, so we are looking forward to seeing the UK Government providing the best possible terms for the offshore wind industry to truly take off and the potential jobs becoming a reality.”