Manchester-based Siemens Transmission and Distribution is to recruit 340 individuals to support its efforts designing and building transmission systems to connect the UK’s power networks to new energy sources, especially offshore wind.
The majority of the positions will be based at a purpose-built facility that is currently under construction at Princess Park in Manchester. The building — called the Renewable Energy Engineering Centre — will house Siemens’ global centre of competence for high-voltage grid connections.
The centre will focus on the design and build of high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission systems for the UK and north-west Europe, in particular to meet the expanding needs of the renewables market.
Siemens said that, owing to the government’s commitment to carbon reduction targets and the consequential need to invest in offshore wind generation, there is a buoyant market for HVDC systems to transport power. In addition to the need to connect wind farms more than 80km from the shore using DC, there is also a demand for more inter-country interconnectors and for subsea links to allow power movement around the UK coast, thus avoiding the requirement to build new overhead lines.
John Willcock, director of major projects for Siemens Transmission and Distribution, said: ‘The UK’s Round 3 offshore wind farms will be sited much further out to sea than previous developments and so will need HVDC technology to overcome the power losses that occur when bringing electricity ashore over longer distances. Strengthening our UK expertise in HVDC is therefore central to Siemens’ strategy in the UK.’
The establishment of the new building is only one element of Siemens’ overall plan, which will result in self-sufficiency in the UK for the engineering and project management of future systems, including HVDC converters.
Siemens has recently announced its role as the HVDC contractor for the energised BritNed project, the first-ever interconnector between the Netherlands and the UK. Other projects are also in the pipeline in the UK and Europe.
To fill the positions, Siemens plans to recruit individuals from universities active in electrical and power engineering, both graduate and postgraduate, and from the existing workforce in the UK and Europe. The company will also recruit engineers from other sectors that are either static or in decline, such as oil and gas, industrial automation and the armed forces.