Wind Energy Island Jobs Boost

by Steve Jones
(North Wales)

The Government is urging wind turbine manufacturer General Electric to seriously consider Anglesey, the "energy island", as the site for a manufacturing facility with 1,900 jobs potential.

Over recent months Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has been in discussion with a manufacturer keen to develop a wind turbine factory on the former Anglesey Aluminium Metal (AAM) smelter site outside Holyhead.

This announcement follows Wednesday's Budget which was very supportive of investing in the future growth potential of new green technologies.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced a new fund of £60 million for supporting infrastructure for new developments such as the possible wind turbine factory at Holyhead.

A key advantage of the former AAM site is the proximity of excellent dock facilities at Holyhead port, which would be ideally placed as a launch point for transporting the turbine units to newly designated wind farm sites.

One such area has been earmarked about 10-12 miles north of Anglesey under the recent allocation of wind farm licences around UK coastal waters.

Mr Hain called the announcement by GE "really exciting news" and he would be impressing upon the company the big advantages of building the new manufacturing facility at Holyhead.

As part of a multi-million euro wind energy investment programme in Europe over the next decade or so, GE is likely to bring together a number of partners and suppliers of blades, towers and supporting components to its chosen manufacturing site.

After the closure of the smelter at Holyhead, the UK Government is pushing hard to ensure that the Anglesey economy and jobs market is supported in the recovery and that with the planned Wylfa B, projects such as the above can strengthen the "Energy Island" going forward.

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