* Aims to mass produce 4MW offshore wind turbine by 2012
* Expects hundreds of turbine sales a year until 2020
* Manufacture and sales to be mainly in Britain, Germany
(Adds timescales, sales targets, country investment details)
OSLO/LONDON, March 25 General Electric Co.
(GE.N) will invest 340 million euros ($453 million) in offshore
wind technology in Europe until 2020, it said on Thursday.
Around 110 million euros will be invested in British turbine
manufacturing and 105 million euros in engineering and
production facilities in Germany, with a target of mass
producing GE's new 4 megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbine as
early as 2012.
"Most of the (offshore wind) projects will be in 2012 to
2015 so you will see mass production within that timeframe,"
Victor Abate, Vice-President of Renewables at GE Energy told
Reuters at a press briefing in Oslo.
Abate said he expected sales of hundreds of turbines per
year until 2020 with most of the sales and manufacturing in
Britain and Germany.
GE also said Britain's budget announcements on a 60 million
pound ($89.52 million) offshore wind infrastructure port
development competition on Wednesday was key to the company's
investment decision. [ID:nLDE62N2E1]
"We believe offshore wind has a bright future here in the UK
and are delighted that the UK government yesterday committed to
further developing this important sector," Magued Eldaief,
managing director of GE Energy UK said.
Climate Change and Energy Secretary Ed Milliband said: "GE's
investment will create new jobs and help the supply chain
flourish, reinforcing the UK as the destination for offshore
The rest of the investment comprises 75 million euros in
Norway for testing wind turbines and 50 million euros in Sweden
on a design facility.
"Today's announcement is the beginning of our offshore wind
effort where technology and network of suppliers is located in
Europe, which is where we see the biggest growth potential," GE
Billions have been spent on installing onshore wind farms
across Europe over the past decade in an effort to decarbonise
power generation, with Denmark and Spain already producing half
their electricity from wind.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Aasachristine Stoltz in Oslo
and Kwok W. Wan in London; editing by James Jukwey)