29 Apr 2009 05:04:08
British turbine manufacturing facility closing
The UK's emerging wind energy industry has been dealt a blow by news that its only turbine making facility is to close.
Vestas, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of wind technology equipment, has revealed that it is to shut down its Isle of Wight factory and cut approximately 700 jobs in the face of dwindling demand for blades.
Blaming the economic downturn for the fall, it announced that it will be laying off 1,275 employees at its Danish facilities as well.
Vestas said that it will continue to invest in the development centre at its Isle of Wight site, however, welcoming the recent UK Budget.
The company said in a statement that the commitment expressed by chancellor Alistair Darling towards new investment in wind power would have a "positive influence" on its future plans for blade production in the UK.
Speaking to the Guardian, Vestas's chief executive Ditlev Engel said: "Since last summer, the order intake in the UK market has dropped significantly.
"The UK has large wind resources and it's a priority for the government but the orders didn't move. That's why we're telling employees that we're not reinvesting there."
At present, there are 210 onshore and offshore wind energy projects in the UK, utilising 2,408 turbines to produce more than 3,300 MW of electricity, which is enough to power 1.9 million homes.http://www.bwea.com/ukwed/index.asp