Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has announced plans to establish a new blade factory in the Polish city of Szczecin, 566km northwest of the country’s capital, Warsaw.
The planned factory will produce blades for Vestas’ V236-15.0 MW offshore wind turbine. Vestas expects to open the plant in 2026, creating over 1,000 direct jobs.
In addition, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer has announced a new assembly factory for offshore nacelles in Szczecin in a move that could raise the total number of direct jobs in the region to 1,700 by 2026. Nacelles sit atop wind turbines and house components such as the generator, gearbox, and others.
“Vestas intends to lead the development of a sustainable supply chain in Europe that can deliver the scale needed to meet the expected growth in demand for offshore wind,” said Tommy Rahbek Nielsen, the company’s CEO. “Our plans for two new offshore factories in Poland underline that Europe can spur wind industry investments and green jobs with the right long-term policy commitments for offshore wind projects.”
In 2022, China was the most prominent player in the field of wind turbine installations, accounting for 47.6% of the units fitted, GlobalData research shows. The US ranked second, with a 10.6% share of global wind turbine installations.
Meanwhile, EU officials have been looking to step up the production and installation of renewables despite higher labour costs and cheaper turbines from China. In October 2023, the European Commission adopted a series of measures intended to help European players in the field gain better access to financing and subsidies from local governments.
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In the face of stiff competition from Chinese and European businesses, Vestas has increased investment in the R&D sector. In 2022 alone, the company spent €457m, or 3.1% of the total revenue income, marking a 17% increase year-on-year.
However, supply chain disruptions in the same year impacted the company’s contractual obligations. At the same time, a decline in production costs elsewhere led to an increase in Vestas’ operations costs.
The new offshore blade factory in Poland will be located on a site Vestas acquired in February 2023. Speaking about the investment in Szczecin, Nils de Baar, president of Vestas Northern & Central Europe, said: “Poland is transforming its energy system and is a promising wind energy market with good wind conditions both onshore and offshore.
“Poland has a highly skilled labour force and growing wind industry that can become an offshore hub for the Baltic region and the rest of Europe. We have been a market leader in Poland for more than 20 years, and I am honoured to announce our next investment plans in Szczecin.”