Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 12:51 UK

Hundreds of jobs to be created in UK wind turbine plan

Offshore wind turbines near  the mouth of the Mersey near Liverpool
The PM has said new offshore turbines could create 70,000 jobs

Hundreds of jobs will be created through a new £80m wind turbine factory, it has been announced.

The offshore wind turbine production facility could be built on the east coast or in the north east of England.

The move by German manufacturing giant Siemens was welcomed by energy secretary Ed Miliband.

The firm said 700 jobs could be created and said new turbines could be running by 2015, aimed at meeting future demand for renewable energy in the UK.

Siemens said it was considering a number of sites in the UK to meet future demand for renewable energy sources.

'Vote of confidence'

The company said it was working closely with regional development agencies.

Peter Loscher, president and chief executive of Siemens, said: "With the new wind turbine production plant in the UK we're pushing ahead with our strategy of investments in attractive growth markets for eco-friendly technology.

"In the foreseeable future the wind power market in the UK will be characterised by major offshore projects, and we'll extend our market leadership with the new production plant."

Energy and climate change secretary Mr Miliband said: "This is a vote of confidence from one of the foremost companies in the offshore wind sector, looking to set up a base in the UK.

This £80m investment... will provide a much-needed economic boost for the region, as well as driving growth in the UK's innovative wind power industry
Andreas Goss
Siemens' chief executive in the UK

"More proof that we're exploiting the great natural resource that we have and creating the right conditions to attract investment. Siemens' investment will help create jobs and help us meet our renewable energy targets."

Friends of the Earth's executive director, Andy Atkins, said it was "fantastic news".

But he said: "It should only be the beginning - the next government must make the creation of a low-carbon future an urgent priority.

"Slashing energy waste and developing our huge renewable energy potential will generate tens of thousands of new jobs, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and help make the UK a world leader in fighting climate change."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said new off-shore wind turbines could create 70,000 jobs. But last year, 600 British workers lost their jobs with the closure of the country's only major wind turbine factory - owned by Danish company Vestas - on the Isle of Wight.

Vestas management blamed the lack of demand for wind turbines in the UK.

Future expansion

A Siemens spokesman said it was hoped that a factory could be built and operational by 2014, with the first turbines turning by 2015.

Andreas Goss, the firm's chief executive in the UK, said: "The new Siemens wind turbine factory will create around 700 new local jobs once it is in production, as well as additional indirect jobs in the supply chain. With the anticipated growth in the renewables market, there is potential for expansion of the facility in the future.

"This £80m investment, plus additional investment in our UK infrastructure for renewables, will provide a much-needed economic boost for the region, as well as driving growth in the UK's innovative wind power industry."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: "Siemens are a world leader in wind technology and this is a fantastic endorsement of the UK as a destination for renewable energy businesses.

"Siemens' plans will provide hundreds of manufacturing jobs and many more in the supply chain - confirming the UK as a world leader in offshore wind."

'Energy revolution'

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT), which campaigned against last year's closure of the Vestas factory, said: "This is welcome news for the economy and the environment.

"Britain should be at the forefront of developing renewable energy, and this is a welcome contrast to the short-sighted closure of Vestas. It makes sense for Vestas workers to be given first refusal on these new jobs, and RMT will be urging Siemens to do that."

The Tories last year unveiled plans for an "energy revolution", with David Cameron saying they would lower carbon emissions, create jobs and reduce oil and gas imports.

There would be incentives to "vastly expand" offshore wind and marine power, and backing for a network of marine energy parks, according to the plans outlined last January.

The Liberal Democrats have promised to transform disused shipyards into wind turbine production centres if they win power, saying 57,000 jobs could be created in cities hit by unemployment, with renewable energy also boosted.

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