Last month, Vestas launched its new 7MW offshore wind turbine to great fanfare. At the top of London’s South Bank Centre, accompanied by a flashy video and models of the turbine for every attendee, we were told that this was the future of offshore wind power.
This was an obvious pitch to developers hoping to build under the upcoming third round of leasing of the UK’s seabed for offshore wind farms. The only problem was that the company hadn’t got very far with it – no prototype had been built and no location had been set for its manufacture.
Ditlev Engel, the company’s CEO, said they could choose to build in the UK, but only if there was enough certainty over subsidies for wind. Well, either Engel has been told something the rest of us haven’t, or he decided he didn’t need the extra clarity – because today, without any new public information on the new green subsidy regime, Vestas announced it was choosing north Kent for its new base. Specifically, it has chosen the Sheerness former naval dockyard.
The facility could employ 2,000 people in building the turbines, which are taller than the Gherkin – a major boost to government attempts to build a recovery based on green jobs.
But with a prototype a year away, those extra 2,000 jobs are still looking quite distant.