Vestas to receive R&D grants

The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have together awarded Vestas Technology £3.5m for research and development (R&D), in addition to more than £6m that they jointly awarded the wind-power company in July this year.

This brings the total government investment in the development of new wind technology on the Isle of Wight to just less than £10m, with half from SEEDA and half from DECC. The funding will allow Vestas to develop its next generation of offshore blades.

The funding is being provided on a competitive basis; Vestas, along with other companies, bid against the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF) scheme for offshore wind R&D.

Vestas submitted its bid earlier this year for funding for two different projects under the ETF – developing new ways of validation and testing and developing automated manufacturing processes.

The company currently employs 160 people on the Isle of Wight. By the time the new R&D centre opens in 2011, this figure is expected to grow to 200 people and to 400 over the following years.

The R&D centre will strengthen the composites cluster and expertise on the island, which includes aerospace engineering company GKN, which SEEDA is also working with.