by Dr Norbert Aschenbrenner
The British offshore market is considered to be one of the most promising markets in all of Europe. Most of the offshore wind turbines throughout the entire European Union are already installed in the United Kingdom, followed by Denmark, with Germany taking third place.
Owing to its location, the U.K. is well suited to offshore wind power plants, which it also supports politically. Nearly two-thirds of all European offshore energy is produced on the North Sea. The UK has increased its wind power capacity to around five gigawatts in recent years. By 2020, it is expected to reach 10 gigawatts.
Under the supervision of experts from Siemens Real Estate, a new logistics center and a service center, along with a production facility, are being built on the Alexandra Dock. The facilities will occupy a total of 540,000 square meters, an area equivalent to about 75 soccer fields.
A New Production and Assembly Plant for Rotor Blades on the North Sea will Create 1,000 Jobs
Due to the enormous size of the rotor blades, the subsoil on the factory grounds has to be reinforced to support the weight of heavy load machines. Close-meshed posts are being rammed into the ground for this purpose. Thirty-meter steel posts are being used to build the new harbor wall, while 25-meter posts made of reinforced concrete will reinforce the subsoil on the property. Approximately 5,000 pillars will be sunk for the two Siemens buildings alone in order to double the load-carrying capacity of the ground.
The fact that rotor blades must meet exceptionally tough stability requirements has led to a special technology – the integral blade process, which was patented by Siemens. Workers fill long molds, similar to a casting mold, with alternating layers of fiberglass mats and balsa wood. Liquid epoxy resin binds all elements together and, once hardened, the result is a seamless rotor blade made in a single casting.
Siemens will supply the Race Bank wind farm, among others, from Hull. This wind farm contains 91 Siemens six-megawatt wind turbines with performance-enhancing features enabling a capacity of up to approximately 580 megawatts. The lease agreement with Associated British Ports (ABP) was concluded for a term of 40 years, which highlights the long-term character of this project.