By Richard Wright
VESTAS Blades has highlighted the value of Wellow Wind Farm securing planning permission – and the damage that could be done to its business if the scheme was refused.
Pro-Island wind energy group Wind On Wight (WOW) drew attention to Vestas’ letter of support for the planning application by Your Energy, which will use blades produced by Vestas if it gets approval for six turbines.
Vestas said it intended to use Wellow for research and development and without a nearby site, that work would inevitably shift towards Denmark and new facilities in Singapore.
The company pointed to the fact that in 2007 it will manufacture more than 1,000 blades, all of which would be exported to other countries.
In a joint letter, Rob Sauven, managing director of Vestas Technology, and Paddy Weir, Vestas Blades managing director, said: “Vestas is building blade factories in all our large markets presently supplied from the Island. In future our business will depend on a UK, Irish and French on-shore market.
“The factory is too small for the offshore market so the West Wight project is typical of our future business opportunities.
“More than 500 direct jobs and an equivalent number of indirect jobs on the Island rely on enough of these onshore projects being constructed. The blade production output of the Newport factory is more than 300 turbines a year.
“Vestas employees take great pride in their work and our products, which are used all around the world. Many of our team on the Island have not seen an operational wind farm. Our nearest blades are in Spain or Germany.
“It would be extremely beneficial for them to be able to visit and be associated with a live project here on the Island.”
They pointed to the marketing, training and research and development benefits and that other local authorities would be watching the Island.
“The Island decision will be watched closely by many other decision makers that do not have anything like the economic benefit at stake that the Island has, when considering their wind farm applications.”
By Richard Wright