Wind turbine factory to create jobs for 100 staff

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A company that develops wind farms is considering setting up a manufacturing base in the Isle of Man, creating more than 100 jobs.

Prowind (UK) Ltd is looking at two projects in Jurby, both based on the airfield.

Firstly it wants to create a windfarm of five turbines in the area, which it hopes will then facilitate the construction of a bespoke 25,000 square foot unit on the industrial estate as the manufacturing base for sister company Xzeres, which designs, manufactures and markets small (2.5 to 10kw) wind-powered, distributed energy turbines.

Keith Brooks, managing director of Prowind (UK), told iomtoday: ‘In order to meet our demand for their 10kw turbines in the UK, we needed a new supply situation. We could have based this facility on mainland UK and this would have saved obvious transport costs, but we would prefer to create a localised benefit around the windfarm so the decision was made to align the projects with the windfarm income subsidising the increased operating costs.

‘The unit has a projected initial workforce of around 108 to 120 personnel, however once we are at full capacity then a split shift pattern will be needed and that would obviously double this number, jobs range across the whole board from admin staff to mechanics to delivery drivers and so on.’

A jobs fair will be held the Douglas Jobcentre October 21 to 23.

Mr Brooks said: ‘The response has been great.

‘Anyone who is interested is welcome to pop along.’

Moulds for blades and other specialist machinery for the new Isle of Man manufacturing business are being made in the USA ready for installation in a temporary unit, which will be used for training and initial production while the new unit at Jurby is built. The new unit will produce 10kw turbines.

There is a demand for on-shore wind turbines in the UK. Prowind (UK) says it is presently working through 55 applications for windfarms in the UK.

Mr Brooks said: ‘We would be delighted to hear from engineering companies based on the island who could supply us parts and we will be making a designated visit later in the year to assess such firms as potential suppliers.’

He added: ‘In addition to developing the unit, the creation of the windfarm itself will create opportunities for local firms to tender for works, where non-island staff are needed then these will require accommodation, hence bringing another localised income stream.

‘As a company we are very excited about the prospects on the island and after several visits we are extremely enthusiastic that the island is the place to develop new links, ideas and jobs.’

The Prowind company – with the head office in Osnabrueck, Germany – specialises in the acquisition, planning , permitting, financing, construction and operation of power plants driven by renewable energy.

It has wind projects in many countries across four continents and by this summer had completed 16 windfarm projects among other renewable energy projects.

The five proposed wind turbines would be 150 metres high to the tip with a blade length of 50 metres.

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