Belfast Telegraph

Chinese industrial giant eyes £95m investment in Northern Ireland

By Margaret Canning

A major Chinese generator manufacturer is in Northern Ireland to explore investment opportunities which could create over 600 jobs in the renewable energy sector.

XEMC (Xiangtan Electrical Manufacturing Corporation), whose visit to the province is its first to the UK, said it was considering locating its European wind turbine assembly plant and blade factory in Northern Ireland.

An investment of over £95m and the creation of over 600 highly skilled jobs are envisaged if Northern Ireland is chosen as the location for the two plants.

XEMC, which employs 11,000 people, is the leading supplier of multi-megawatt direct drive turbine technology in the Chinese market.

During a two day visit hosted by Belfast company Titan Energy Associates, XEMC's European and North American marketing and distribution partners, XEMC will hold briefings at Stormont and meetings with Invest NI, Harland & Wolff, Queen's University and Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Fengtai Cheng, managing director of XEMC Darwind BV, said: "We are committed to giving serious consideration to bringing our European operations to Northern Ireland. We are undertaking two feasibility studies in the next three months with the assistance of our local partners, Titan Energy Associates (TEA). These comprehensive studies will explore a number of key factors ranging from specialised labour skills and logistical infrastructure to strategic alliances. In general and of greater importance, we want to gauge the enthusiasm of the local community to support us."

Dr Peter McCormick, chief executive of Titan Energy Associates, said the firm was "absolutely delighted" at XEMC's interest.

XEMC's feasibility studies are to finish by the end of November.

If Northern Ireland is chosen, a seven-month construction programme would begin early next year.