back to article Wind turbine bonanza expected in Hull

Politicians both local and national are overjoyed at an announcement by wind-turbine maker Siemens that it may build an assembly plant in Hull. A jobs bonanza for the region is predicted. Siemens issued a brief statement earlier today in which the firm announced the selection of Associated British Ports, with its Hull …


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  1. G R Goslin
    Thumb Down

    Assembly Plant?

    I think the key word here is 'assembly''. This is not a factory for actually MAKING the things, merely bolting together bits made elsewhere. So there is no gain whatsoever to British Industry. This is what Britain used to do the Far East part of The Empire. Make the goods here, ship them out to the user country (Takes less shipping space, broken down. ) and re-assemble them. No real skills required, and cost savings on the way. Just another indication of our transition into a coolie country.

    1. Richard 81

      Oh yes?

      Surely the fact that they've created 10,000 jobs that pay at least minimum wage can only be a good thing. A job is a job.

    2. Richard 81

      Well OK, 700

      Well OK, 700 jobs. They're still jobs.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Bearing in mind the size of these things, what is the difference between "assembling" a turbine and "making" a ship; which used to be called ship-building.

      As an employee of a company that is also trying to ride this gravy train by supplying all sorts of fairly high tech equipment to Siemens (and similar) I believe that you are being a bit too heavy handed with your derision.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Unskilled jobs

      Those "unskilled" jobs may seem to lowly for the likes of you but for the 2.5 million unemployed in Briton and specifically the severely hit economy of Hull they will be a godsend that allows people to feed their families.

      This will provide a small but significant boost to the local economy by putting money in peoples hands which allows them to spend and most likely attracting other similar industries.

    5. Some Beggar


      It's a manufacturing and R&D facility and will use local suppliers.

    6. PJ 1
      Thumb Down

      [Information gathering] [opinion forming] ordering problem

      "The parties have agreed to work together to develop plans for the construction of a new Siemens offshore wind turbine manufacturing and export facility at the Port with the aim of executing definitive agreements in 2011."

      The direct drive Siemens machines are pretty much uniquely offshore turbines. You cannot 'assemble' them on shore in any meaningful sense. This site may not produce every last element of the turbine but there are a great number of skilled jobs in the construction of the superstructure and equipment in these machines. Also the marginal saving on shipping cheaply manufactured parts half way around the world is not actually all that big and given recent history ( not well regarded in the industry.

      In addition some of the sites that these turbines populate will be owned and operated from the uk meaning more jobs for offshore construction, maintenance, service techs and spare parts/offsite servicing.

      I'm sure you are fully commensurate with the 'no real skills' required for a confined spaces trained specialist welder with an offshore ticket. Or an offshore trained turbine technician or site operator.

      Still, I am sure if you copy your ill-formed opinion on to the the Daily Fail comments section it will get a few up votes just on the basis of your use of the words 'coolie country.'

  2. Uk_Gadget

    Join the discussion

    Stick a couple in parliament square, plenty of wind to capture from that block...

  3. Dave 15

    British jobs?

    There is a mistake here

    The British government spending British tax payers money on products produced by British workers?

    ITs obviously much better to spend British tax payers money on foreign products employing foreign people isn't it.... after all we only have 30% of the working age population not working (check the ONS website on employment if you don't believe me).

    Ah, now I spy it - Siemens are considering setting up a plant in Hull.... so we can pretty much assume they won't when push comes to shove, but they will of course get all the orders as its not considered reasonable to fund any startup in the UK - well, perhaps the banks will but only if they can charge huge fees and massive interest rates.

  4. copsewood

    all electricity is subsidised

    Carbon burning generated electricity is subsidised through your household insurance which has the premiums jacked up to cover the actuarially assessed increased probability of extreme weather caused building damage. There is also the risk of uninsured extreme weather caused losses, the costs of which is not picked up by coal powered power station operators or other carbon burners either.

    Nuclear generated electricity is subsidised through the fact that you can't insure a nuclear plant against a major accident, and the fact that the taxpayer also picks up the tab for long term waste storage and management and any increase in cancers caused through leaks and accidents.

    Chances are that long-term subsidy of renewable electricity won't be politically maintainable into the far future, but neither will the above subsidies on carbon and nuclear.

  5. Anonymous Bastard
    Thumb Up

    Not an industry as such, but...

    I'd rather jobs were created in expensive wind farms than expensive defence projects which build frigates without guns and carriers without catapults or planes that can't be launched from them.

    1. John 62

      new form of coastal defence

      boats will hit offshore turbines, as might low-flying planes.

  6. Ian Rogers

    When the wind blows

    "...generate just over 84,000 gigawatt-hours annually. ...approximately one-quarter of present day UK electricity demand"

    As long as you can store it between generation and demand that is. How many pumped-hydro stations do we have? Anywhere near enough?

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Doesn't matter ...

      ... when the wind blows, charge up your car!

    2. longbeast

      Pumped hydro is a bit arse.

      If we do move towards having much more power generated by wind, the economic conditions will be moving towards the requirements for sodium-sulphur cells as storage. Smaller than pumped hydro, easier to build and maintain, but unattractive at the moment since they have to be kept hot and with quick start gas turbines all over the place, they're being kept hot for no purpose.

      My guess is that if a large fraction of our power starts coming from wind, we'll eventually start seeing gas turbines replaced with molten sulphur cells.

  7. Stuart 22

    Bl**dy foreigners!

    We had arguably the best propeller maker (Dowty) and turbine manufacturer (Rolls-Royce) and wind-tunnels courtesy of BAe, Yet none elected to transfer their technology to gain a share of a new manufacturing opportunity expanding at 25/30% per annum. Rolls-Royce US competitor (GE) did and is now a world leader. in an industry with a future while RR presumably pray that global warming will not curtail air travel.

    So the Spanish, Danish & Germans will give us a few assembly jobs but not the expertise and profits. It is the politicians (nostly conservative) fault for deliberately shifting our economic base from manufacturing to financial and penury from the bankers gambles.

    Whereas Germany goes from strength to strength bailing out everbody and finding it hard to meet demand. That's the only reason we get a few breadcrumbs from these manufacturers.

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Assembly Plant?

    Depends what you are assembling.

    If it's just shipping dissembled windmills in on one boat and lifting them onto other boats to be planted off the UK and so count as UK windfarms - that's one thing.

    If it's bringing in blades and steel tubes but assembling them in Hull, thats skilled millwright jobs.

  9. G R Goslin


    I stand entirely behind my earlier post. Siemens have saturated, to excess, their own domestic market, and see Britain as the next mug in the Renewables Scam. The article states that the plant is for ASSEMBLY. Which means that the components are manufactured elsewhere, and where better than their own manufacturing plants. In this scenario, assembly is a cost, not value added. As usual, the taxpayer is picking up a large part of the required investment, and that means me. To produce power at a higher price to the consumer, and that means me again.

    1. Some Beggar

      Pride in ignorance.

      And a determination to see gloom in good news.

      You must be a joy at parties.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well you should be

      It may only be an ASSEMBLY plant, but that does not mean that there is not a considerable amount of skill involved. The same could probably be said of the oil rigs littering the North Sea.

      And AFAIK there has been nothing said about where the components to be "assembled" are coming from. These involve state of the art generators, power electronics, automation systems, switchgear (and those are just the aspects that I know of).

      I do not believe that there is a factory based in Germany (or more likely Denmark considering Siemens Wind Power roots) that turns out a kit of parts for wind turbines to be assembled by monkeys wherever the tax situation calls for it.

      Although I do admit that the engineering design of the turbines is probably done elsewhere.

      1. Some Beggar
        Thumb Up

        According to the link in the article

        there will be R&D at this facility and it will manufacture the turbine blades.

  10. Tom7
    Thumb Down

    Ignorance about ROCs

    Wind-generated electricity currently costs around 3p/kWhr (for new build - source SDC report from 2004, its got better since then). The current wholesale market price of electricity averages around 6.5p/kWhr. So ever kWhr of wind energy on the grid is lowering your electricity prices. And if we manage to actually meet the renewables targets, there is no subsidy.

    I'm not sure how you can reasonably say that wind is pushing electricity prices up.

    1. David Pollard

      Two of the factors causing price increases

      Wind energy is only available for 25% or 30% of the time. So, there being presently no effective large-scale storage, backup capacity must be available for use when the wind isn't blowing.

      Secondly, to cater for the fluctuating supply and increased distances of transmission the national grid will have to be beefed up.

  11. PlacidCasual

    And the net losers are?

    The round 3 wind farms such as dogger bank array are overwhelmingly being financed by foreign firms. One such investor is the Dutch State Pension Scheme who can expect a 10% return on capital invested on their dogger bank estate guaranteed by Acts Of Parliament to come directly from the pockets of British electricity customers.

    We might as well just put our hard earned wages in a small envelope and post it to the EU for them to redistribute and cut out the expensive middle man that is the UK Government.

    I mean 32 gigawatts of windpower! During the December cold spree when UK electricity demand hit its 2010 peak the current installed wind farms were producing just 10% of their rated capacity. Imagine how much fast response generation such as open cycle gas turbines we’ll need to back up this unreliable white elephant. Our political masters infatuation with Windy Miller is costing each and every one of us with higher energy bills so they can be smug on the international stage. Another pyrrhic victory for UK plc.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Right so peak demand happened to fall at a time of low wind just once and we should all give up? Try taking a longer term view. Longer than your lifetime or mine.

      Gas will run out. Coal will run out. Wind, for all practical purposes will not. I can't argue with statements like 'infatuation with Windy Miller', this government and the last are/were pushing wind for their own personal short term political gain as much as for the good of the country.

      Forget about the ROI on the current installations. The people selling the turbines will tell you that they will have paid for themselves in a few years but they would wouldn't they? I'm skeptical that the 1st generation turbines will pay for themselves at all. But the 2nd generation will because the transmission equipment will already be in place. That is what we are getting, the foundations of long term infrastructure. We may not see the benefit but our kids generation will. Think about this not in terms of replacing a gas turbine or two because the numbers just don't add up. Compare instead to the national grid, the railways or even the canals. Those I know were privately financed but they would be orders of magnitude more expensive to do now, no company would have a hope. The time taken to see a return on the investment far exceeds anything a private company is going to be interested in and that IMO is exactly the kind of investment government should be making.

  12. taxman

    The losers are?

    Yay! Lets burn all the available gas to generate electricity so that when we want to use our central heating we........ Oh hang on. Isn't most of the central heating in housing in the UK powered by gas?

    Damn and blast! Back to the coal mines chaps.

  13. Karl Proctor
    Thumb Up

    Yes Please

    Any jobs in the area would be welcome.

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