Siemens Energy has invested three million pounds in its wind power training facility in Newcastle in the UK.

To be able to better serve the fast growing renewables service market Siemens Energy has invested three million pounds in its wind power training facility in Newcastle in the UK. Newcastle is the headquarters for the newly integrated Energy Service business in the UK and Ireland region, part of a global business servicing both conventional and onshore and offshore wind power plants.

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The wind power service teams will provide support for new and existing projects in the UK, in particular the Crown Estate Round 3 offshore wind power development program and Scottish Waters. Together these programs are targeted to deliver 37 gigawatts (GW) of energy from renewables for the UK over the next two decades. This is a seven fold expansion from current capacity of 5 GW (2010), necessitating a huge ramp-up of resources to meet these challenging targets.

With a focus on this specific UK opportunity, Siemens decided in 2009 to establish locally in the UK the in-house training and provide the necessary training infrastructure for its service engineers from one dedicated centre. The wind power training facility, now part of Siemens Energy Service, was thus born. One of four of its kind in Siemens globally, the facility provides technical and health and safety training for Siemens’ wind power service technicians, equipping them with the skills required to meet the service needs of the industry. Siemens has invested around £3m to date in the UK training facility, which currently includes a fully loaded 2.3 megawatt (MW) nacelle and will be expanded later this year to include an offshore 3.6 MW turbine, as well as training tower and other key training resources. The facility goes from strength to strength as Siemens doubles the throughput of trainees each year and trains around 350 technicians. Siemens has also been instrumental in helping to launch a wind power service technician apprenticeship program with Renewable UK.

“The wind energy resources off the coast of the UK are among the best in Europe. With the start of the Round Three program we’ll be handling service for hundreds of wind turbines. The Integrated Energy Service Training Centre is the hub of our network of expertise in the region and enables us to give our customers even better support in the future,” says Carl Ennis, managing director of Siemens Energy Service UK with responsibility for generation service in the UK and Ireland region. Today, Siemens already provides service for approximately 700 wind turbines with a combined capacity of nearly 2,000 MW in the UK and Ireland region. The company coordinates remote monitoring, operation, maintenance, upgrades and modifications for existing and new projects from Newcastle and the regional service office in Wishaw, Scotland.

Siemens is involved in many exciting new onshore and offshore projects, including the recent launch of its direct drive technology in the UK. In April 2011, Siemens signed the first UK long-term service contract for the SWT-3.0-101 direct drive wind turbine. Over a period of 15 years the company will provide service and maintenance for the wind turbines at Millour Hill onshore wind farm operated by the project developer Community Windpower Ltd. in the UK. “This is a significant and exciting new project for Siemens Energy Service UK. It shows that we can offer customized solutions from our broad range of technologies,” said Carl Ennis. “With our dedicated centre in Newcastle, we’re even better placed to provide innovative services, as is the case for the Millour Hill project.”

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