Corus, Europe’s second largest steel producer, is diversifying into the wind power market and has unveiled plans to construct a new £31.5-million manufacturing plant at Teesside in England. Preliminary engineering work is underway at the Corus Redcar site to develop a new facility to produce steel foundation structures – called monopiles – used to secure offshore wind turbines to the seabed.
The company, which has main steelmaking operations primarily in the UK and the Netherlands, and is part of Tata Steel of India, is moving now in order to establish its position in this emerging marketplace. “The development of a new plant is dependent on us securing enough orders for monopiles. Our engineers will be carrying out work in Teesside over the coming weeks to give us a head start on creating a new facility,” explains Jon Bolton, Corus long products director. The intention is to redeploy and re-equip redundant buildings on the company’s 3,000-acre Teesside site for monopile production and shipment of the structures which can weigh as much as 650 tonnes.
“The UK Government has approved ambitious plans to build thousands of wind turbines at sea over the next ten years. They are intended to generate 35 gigawatts of electricity – around 15% of the UK’s energy requirements. Similar developments are taking place in other European countries,” points out Chris Elliot, Corus director of product marketing. “In the UK alone, we estimate that about 6 million tonnes of steel will be needed over the next 10 years to make the foundations and tower structures for offshore wind turbines. We are positioning ourselves to take full benefit of these opportunities.”
Corus is already a worldwide supplier to every sector of the energy industry from exploration and drilling, oil and gas production and transportation through to refining, processing and developing renewable technologies.