XEMC Studies northern Ireland for $148 Million wind-turbine Factory (UK)
XEMC Group, the Chinese company that bought Dutch wind-turbine maker Darwind BV last year, is studying Northern Ireland as location for a $148 million production base.
The group’s wind-energy unit, XEMC Darwind BV, may locate its European turbine assembly plant and blade factory in the U.K. province, Peter McCormick, chief executive officer of XEMC Darwind’s local marketing and distribution partner Titan Energy Associates, said today by telephone.
The company, which can make 1,000 turbines per year at its Chinese facilities, is also mulling the Republic of Ireland and Holland for the two plants, McCormick said.
XEMC will decide by the end of November after a three-month feasibility study, he said. At the chosen location XEMC Darwind aims to make 200 turbines per year and create 600 jobs by 2016.
“The local and domestic markets in England and Ireland would be easily served from a base in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland,” he said. It could also serve the U.S. market, where XEMC Darwind has established customer relationships, said McCormick.
“Advancing in tandem” with the European factory are plans to set up in the U.S., said McCormick. The company’s technology, a gearless turbine, is a “great door-opener” in the market, he said. Without gearboxes wind turbines can be lighter, more reliable, require less maintenance and therefore operate for longer.
Alongside a 2.5-megawatt capacity machine for onshore wind farms, the company is developing the 5-megawatt version for the offshore market.
A delegation from XEMC Group, which acquired Darwind from its bankrupt previous owner Dutch holding company Econcern, visited Northern Ireland during the last two days to discuss the plans. This marked the group’s first U.K. visit, according to a statement released by the company.
By Sally Bakewell (bloomberg)