Vestas has announced plans to build a new wind turbine factory in the UK, creating 2,000 jobs.
The wind turbine giant is applying for planning permission for a new plant at Sheerness in Kent to build turbines for the offshore wind industry.
The UK is the world’s largest offshore wind market and has a massive offshore project pipeline.
Vestas said the project will go ahead provided it receives enough orders for its V164-7.0 MW purpose-built offshore turbine.
“Vestas is prepared to make the necessary significant investment in turning the option into a full lease and building the planned new production facilities, thereby creating more than 2,000 direct and indirect new jobs provided the V164-7.0 MW order pipeline materialises as expected.
“With this option agreement in place, Vestas has shown our willingness and commitment to making major investments benefiting the UK, but Vestas alone cannot make it happen,” a spokesman for the company said.
Vestas 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.
Anders Soe-Jensen, president of Vestas Offshore A/S, said: “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.
“We need to make sure it makes sense business-wise.
“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,” Soe-Jensen said.
The announcement comes after more than 400 jobs were lost on the Isle of Wight when Vestas closed its wind turbine factory in Newport in 2009.
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said the announcement was “excellent news and shows that there are real jobs and huge opportunities for the UK in renewable energy”.
“The Government now needs to create the right regulatory framework to build a sustainable green economy.
“This must include removing the blockages to faster take-up of renewable energy, including giving the Green Investment Bank the ability to borrow money and setting ambitious renewable energy targets beyond 2020,” Sauven said.
Greenpeace called on the Government to ensure support for offshore wind, including improving skills and training, the electricity grid and the offshore planning regime and making sure planned reform of the energy market backs renewables rather than focusing on nuclear.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry said he wanted the UK to be the “number one destination for investing in offshore wind and the development of a renewables supply chain”.
“We are reforming the electricity market to provide exactly the kind of long-term certainty investors in low-carbon energy need.
“This announcement shows confidence in the UK as a place to do business in the offshore wind sector, and confidence in the UK’s potential as a strong manufacturing base,” Hendry said.