July 3 - Peel Ports Group, owner of the UK's Port of Sheerness, has moved quickly to pledge a major effort in securing a replacement for Vestas, following the latter's decision not to take up the option to locate a major wind turbine manufacturing facilit

Peel Ports and Vestas jointly announced last week that the Danish firm's planned creation of a major European-scale manufacturing plant would not now proceed.

However Mark Whitworth, chief executive of the UK's second-largest ports group, said his company was "100 percent committed" to finding a replacement, describing the Sheerness facility as "absolutely tailor-made" for major renewables manufacturing.

Whitworth said: "Everyone involved is bitterly disappointed, but our aim of delivering a world-class renewables manufacturing operation at Sheerness is very much alive.

"Our confidence is based on a number of factors - ideal geographical location, superb marine facilities, availability of major parcels of land and, crucially, the recent approval by Swale Borough Council's planning committee. Indeed, the site ticks all the boxes from a planning, technical, commercial and legal standpoint, making it a very compelling proposition to other manufacturers.

"To a large degree, the detailed preparation has already been done on this site and we're committed to identifying a replacement operator who can take advantage of the fact that the Port of Sheerness is now tailor-made to play a leading role in this vital industry."

Among a number of attributes which Peel Ports says brings advantages to Sheerness as a wind turbine manufacturing site is the port's close proximity to key Round 3 offshore wind zones and Continental projects; and the fact that the port has been awarded UK Government CORE status (Centre for Offshore Renewable Engineering) offering comprehensive support.