Government backs Smulders, SeAH Wind on UK yards

Grant funding secured from the offshore wind manufacturing investment scheme for foundation factories [Image: SeAH Steel Holdings ]

The UK government is providing financial support to new new offshore wind manufacturing investments that have been announced by SeAH Wind and Smulders Projects UK.

SeAH Wind is to receive grant funding towards a new monopile foundation factory at the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) on the Humber, creating up to 750 direct jobs by 2030.

A UK-based subsidiary of SeAH Steel Holdings, SeAH Wind has committed to invest a total of £260m over the next three years and will be the sole monopile supplier in the country.
Start of manufacturing operations is anticipated to begin in 2023, reaching some 240,000 tonnes in order to respond to the sharp increase in global demand of monopiles.

Smulders Projects UK will receive funding towards a £70m investment in new equipment and infrastructure to enable the manufacture of offshore wind turbine transition pieces at its existing site in Wallsend, Newcastle, creating and safeguarding up to 325 direct jobs.

Government backing will come from the £160m Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme, which will support the private investment by both companies.

London did not disclose the specific amounts awarded.

The scheme was announced by the Prime Minister last year as part of his Ten Point Plan to build factories that will develop components for next generation wind turbines.

In addition to substantially boosting the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing base, the factories are expected to supply essential components to offshore wind farms across the UK – as well as for export around the world.

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The Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme is designed to support the delivery of manufacturing investment in the offshore wind supply chain.

It provides grant funding for major investments in the manufacture of strategically important offshore wind components, from turbine blades to sea cables.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Wind is one of the UK’s greatest natural assets and we’re a world-leader in offshore wind energy.

“With the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, we are determined to grow and nurture a strong, world-class manufacturing base so British businesses and our workforce can fully seize the economic benefits being a windy island nation brings.

“Today’s investments will not only put the wind in the sails of the UK’s industrial heartlands, creating and supporting thousands of good quality jobs, they will also benefit the whole of Britain as we work to onshore more manufacturers, attract inward investment and ramp up export opportunities.”

Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone added: “The UK is well-established as having the largest offshore wind capacity of any country on the planet.

“These investments highlight how we are building a manufacturing base that reflects our position as a world leader in this key technology and the attractiveness of the UK’s clean energy sector to international investors.

“UK workers will be building the next generation of wind turbines that will not only help us meet our own climate change commitments but will be exported and can power countries all over the globe in a cleaner greener future.”

SeAH Steel Holdings Corporation chief operations officer Joosung Lee said: “Based on the active support and trust from the UK government, it is meaningful for SeAH that investment toward the monopile factory is in full swing.

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“As the only monopile supplier in the UK offshore wind supply chain, we are already expecting promising results from commercial negotiations with our UK customers as well as European customers.

“We are also planning to aggressively target the US and Asian offshore wind substructure market with the successful UK business model.”

Peter Stephenson, executive chairman of the ABLE Group, which is developing AMEP said: “Efforts by a number of parties, Government policy, and the appetite of the offshore wind sector are now well and truly aligned and have created this exceptional opportunity.

“Clearly this is a defining moment for AMEP development, and our thanks are warmly extended to the entire SeAH team who have recognised, and shared, our faith and belief in the project.

“While we expect to see further similar announcements in the not too distant future, we cannot overstate the significance and impact of this first commitment.”

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