MORE than 50 jobs will be created in Hartlebury after a green energy company officially opened its new manufacturing plant in the area.
Government energy and climate change minister Greg Barker MP cut the ribbon as Canadian firm Endurance Wind Power opened its turbine building factory at the Hartlebury Trading Estate on Thursday, March 13.
It means Hartlebury is now a major national and international export hub. Its central location means the 225kW X-Series wind turbines can be distributed easily around the UK and to Europe using nearby Birmingham Airport.
The turbines are aimed at farmers who would be able to use them to create their own energy and company bosses stressed the scheme was about "farm wind, not wind farms".
Endurance's managing director of UK assembly operations, Anthony Rochelle-Whyte, told The Shuttle the plant would be a "huge boost" for the area, particularly following the shock closure of Kidderminster's Sealine factory last year.
He said: "From a company point of view, we will employ 100 extra people across the UK, with 55 jobs at this facility, it is a massive boost to the economy here especially as Kidderminster lost Sealine, which was devastating and the decline of the carpet industry, we are offering something unique - we are young and growing."
It is hoped the Hartlebury factory will eventually build 100 farm-scale turbines each year.
Conservative MP Mr Barker said: "This is new jobs for the local economy brought here by discussion I had with Endurance two and a half years ago and the Government's clear vision for the UK clean energy sector."
Hartlebury's Tory MP Sir Peter Luff added: "This is hugely significant, it is a big investment into the area from Canada. I feel really positive about it, there are a lot of small and medium sized businesses in our area but this is going to be a big one and it's really encouraging to see it growing."
He said having single wind turbine would not be as contentious to residents as controversial large-scale wind farms.
Redditch farmer Phil Gibbs has one of the turbines at his Upper Bentley farm and said he hoped it would secure his business's long-term future.
"For me I was looking for a sustainable source of energy for the farm," he said. "Planning permission was the biggest issue I had but getting past that I can create my own energy at the farm. In a very unstable world we live in at the moment Russia, for example, could switch the gas taps off whenever they like.
"Farming is not about a short-term get rich quick thing, it is long term and this is securing my energy. It is also fantastic for the local economy for exports and it is good for renewable energy."