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Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe to Invest up to £100 million in UK Wind Turbine R&D Project

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband today signed a non binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Ltd (MPSE). The company intends to invest up to £100 million in an offshore wind turbine project in the UK. This will create up to 200 highly skilled jobs.

The Government is working with MPSE, and is intending to provide grants of up to £30 million to support the project. This follows on from extensive work with MPSE and discussions that the company had with Lord Mandelson and Ed Miliband at the Global Investors conference hosted by the Prime Minister in London on Monday arranged by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

This project will be the first step towards the production of turbines for the next generation of offshore wind farms. By working closely with Mitsubishi, the UK is a strong contender to be a manufacturing base for Mitsubishi in the future, which could create up to 1,500 new jobs.

The UK is leading the way in offshore wind. Today's announcement demonstrates both the Government and private sector commitment to developing the industry in the UK. Mitsubishi will be working closely with UK based companies and organisations to develop the turbines needed for the next generation of offshore wind farms.

Today Lord Mandelson and Ed Miliband also announced new funding of £18.5 million for an offshore wind test site in the North East of England.

The site, off the coast near the New and Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth, will act as a technology demonstration and development platform for the next generation of large multi-megawatt offshore wind turbines. It also complements Government support for a blade test facility in the North East that will enable the testing of blades up to 100m in length. These world-leading testing facilities will make the UK a prime location for companies such as Mitsubishi.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

"Mitsubishi's investment in wind turbine R&D and the creation of 200 highly skilled jobs is great news for our future plans in low carbon, high technology industries. The UK is now well placed to manufacture the turbines needed for the next generation of offshore wind farms. We will continue to work with Mitsubishi to secure production in the UK.

"I'm delighted that we are also supporting the wind test site in the North East. Coming on top of funding for Narec announced in the Pre-Budget Report, it further strengthens the North East's position as a leader in the offshore wind farm sector."

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

"This decision by Mitsubishi is a sign that the UK is starting to turn its leadership in offshore wind generation into leadership in manufacturing. We have the wind resource and we now have an industry that is really starting to grow. This is possible because of our domestic market and our commitment to support companies that locate here. It is another step to turning Britain into a leading green manufacturing centre."

Senior Executive Vice President Mr Ichiro Fukue and MPSE CEO Mr Akio Fukui said:

"Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe is delighted to be working in partnership with the UK Government to create this exciting opportunity for the development of world-class offshore wind technology in the UK. MHI's Ship Building division is interested in entering the offshore wind installation and operation and maintenance vessel market. We have been working with UKTI for some time and we look forward to further growing our offshore wind business with UK-based partner and supply chain businesses from 2010, bringing much needed competition into the offshore wind turbine supply market, and economic benefit to the UK."

1. The project will have three phases:
  • Prototype assembly, onshore and offshore testing of Mitsubishi's 6MW second generation technology;
  • Development of third generation offshore wind technology with the establishment of a UK-based Mitsubishi Offshore Wind Centre for Advanced Technology; and
  • The design and development of large composite offshore wind turbine blades, and associated production techniques.
2. Funding is coming from the £950 million Government's Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). It was created to invest in the UK's basic capabilities for industrial innovation, job creation and growth in a highly competitive global economy.

3. Any grants from HMG to Mitsubishi will be subject to European Commission approval.

4. The Offshore test facility at Narec will comprise 20 pre-consented "pods", at which users can deploy prototype or demonstration turbines and foundations. The pods will be in four rows, increasing in distance offshore and with water depths of 15, 35, 45 and 55 metres to allow testing of alternative installation and foundation types. The Strategic Investment Fund will provide the primary infrastructure for the facility and will fast track the near shore development (first row of "pods") to meet demand from manufacturers. The site will provide conditions representative of typical Round 3 offshore wind projects. Developers will be expected to pay a lease to use the site. The development of the site is subject to further planning consents and the site being granted a lease by the Crown Estate.

5. Narec is working closely with Regional Development Agency One North East to implement an investment programme of up to £80 million by the public and private sectors to develop the national innovation assets to support UK industrial growth in the offshore wind and marine renewable markets. These include a new facility being developed with the Energy Technologies Institute to test the world's biggest turbines and enhanced marine and blade testing facilities.

6. About Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Ltd (MPSE). In October 2007 Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Ltd was established by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to drive forward MHI's power business in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. MPSE is a UK company headquartered in London with offices in Leeds, Hamburg, Madrid, Vienna, Turin, Dublin and Istanbul, and is testimony to MHI's desire to localise their power systems capability outside of Japan. MPSE has seen significant growth from a core of 5 power systems experts in early 2008 to a multi-disciplinary team of currently over 100 staff (72 UK-based). In early 2009 MPSE acquired Maintenance Partners Ltd, a Belgium-based service and maintenance specialist company with 400 staff and a significant presence in Europe and the Middle East.

Mr Ichiro Fukue - Senior Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Tokyo based, Senior Executive Vice President and board member of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with responsibility across MHI's business areas including power and related products. As Senior Executive Vice President Mr Fukue also leads MHI's Sustainable Energy and Environmental Strategy division, with interests including offshore wind, wind, photovoltaics, CCS, smart grid, energy storage and electric vehicles. Trained as a mechanical engineer and began working for MHI Power Systems 39 years ago, Mr Fukue has been General Manager of MHI's Takasago Machinery Works and Managing Director of MHI's Power Systems Headquarters. Married and lives in Tokyo.

Mr Akio Fukui - Chief Executive Officer, Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe. London based, CEO of MPSE with responsibility for the expansion of MHI's Power Systems business across Europe, Middle East, and North Africa. Began working in MHI's headquarters 38 years ago as a project manager, before becoming General Manager of MHI's London liaison office in 1986. Mr Fukui was responsible for supplying Mitsubishi Wind Turbines to at the time the UK's and one of Europe's largest wind farms in Wales with 103 Mitsubishi 300KW machines. Mr Fukui has also previously been Senior Executive at MHI's headquarters, and General Manager of MHI's Overseas Business Promotion. Studied Economic Science at university, lives in central London, married with family.

7. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government's leadership on climate change. We are pushing hard internationally for ambitious effective and fair action to avert the most dangerous impacts. Through our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we are giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, we are enabling the energy sector's shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and we are stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.

Posted 25/02/2010

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