June 17 - Construction has started of Siemens' new manufacturing facility for offshore wind energy equipment in Cuxhaven, Germany.

The start of construction was celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Parliamentary State Secretary Enak Ferlemann, who emphasised the importance of the project for Germany's coastal economy and future energy infrastructure.

"A new industry is developing at the German north and east coast which is not only beneficial for the labour market, but also for the energy transition," said Ferlemann.

Once production begins at the 170,000 sq m site, the ground will need to handle heavy loads of up to several hundred tonnes. Civil engineering works for the foundations of the production facility will also start during the coming weeks.

The completion of the production hall, with heights of up to 30 m, is scheduled for mid 2017. Besides the assembly hall, the facility will have a two-storey building with 3,800 sq m of offices and a canteen as well as a technological building and a gatehouse will also rise at the site.

Production of the 7 MW direct drive offshore wind turbines will start in the summer of 2017, coinciding with the commencement of manufacturing of the 75 m rotor blades at Siemens' new plant in Hull, UK.

 The two manufacturing plants, as well as the base ports selected for the installation work, will be connected by two specialised ro-ro ships, which Siemens says will avoid the need for expensive lifts of the heavy components and increase workplace safety.