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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

12 October 2017

General Electric to open renewable energy technology hub in Southampton

Global energy giant General Electric is planning on opening a new research, design and development hub for renewable technology in Southampton.

The news was reported by Daily Echo, claiming that the endeavor would take place in former Vosper Thornycroft site in Woolston, which used to be a shipbuilding facility.

The facility will constitute a technology innovation hub, comprising research, testing, and development of onshore and offshore wind technologies, as well as hydropower.

The new renewable energy technology hub can create up to 250 new jobs, comprising 100 highly-skilled engineering and technician positions along with another 150 supply chain roles.

The initial plan of GE was to build a 24-hour wind turbine manufacturing plant on the same site, for which it got permission in April 2017.

Councillor Simon Letts, the leader of Southampton City Council, said about the new plans: “It’s fantastic news for the city”.

“It would bring high-end engineering jobs for the city to a site which was once the place where the Spitfire was built and has a strong link with shipbuilding”.

Councillor Warwick Payne, who represents Woolston on Southampton City Council, addressed the issue that was raised during the initial discussions for the 24-hour wind turbine plant, about the noise that would be generated by the factory.

He said: “Concerns were raised about noise and late-night disturbance when the original plan was discussed, and over the coming weeks I’ll be seeking feedback from residents in terms of whether a larger factory is acceptable or a deal-breaker”.

Reportedly, GE said: “When completed, the development will cement Southampton’s place as the centre of composite excellence and will be another important step in GE’s strategy of renewable energy investment in the UK”.

“This is the company’s preferred location among a number of international locations based on a number of key factors which include an excellent supply base, and an available pool of highly experienced staff at all levels with strong local academic institutions”.

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