GE Renewable Energy has started to recruit some 100 managers, technicians and operators at its new offshore wind blades plant in Cherbourg, France, as the OEM steps-up plans for production of its Haliade-X turbine.
The company will offer each new employee a training and certification programme via ‘centres of excellence’ in France, Spain and Poland, in preparation for the prototyping phase for the 107-metre blade, currently slated to start at the Cherbourg plant in January 2019.
“This plant will become a source of employment in the region. One hundred managers, technicians and operators on permanent contracts are to be filled in the year 2018. The recruitments will be pursued in 2019 and during periods of full production, the site should accommodate more than 550 people,” said Duncan Berry, chief executive of LM Wind Power, which was bought by GE in 2017,
The Cherbourg facility is expected to create “a significant number” of highly skilled jobs over the long-term, as well as up to 2,000 indirect jobs in the surrounding region.
Ten new employees have already begun duties in the factory, with GE saying it had identified candidates for “a quarter of the positions” to be filled, meaning some 70 vacancies remain open.
The Cherbourg blade plant, together with GE’s Saint-Nazaire nacelle factory, will fill orders in the European offshore wind turbine market for the 12MW Haliade-X, unveiled in March exclusively in Recharge.
Little is known about the hyper-long blade model, beyond that it will eclipse the sector’s current record-setters by almost 20 metres .
GE plans to get the Haliade-X from computer screen to mass production by 2021, shaving a full year off its original project timeline by using highly-accelerated life testing to trial everything from the blades and drivetrain to the converters in “real-world operational conditions” at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Blyth facility in northeast England.