The Gdansk waterfront. Photo: Michael Cavén / Creative Commons.
In 1980, some 17,000 ship builders went on strike in Poland's Gdansk Shipyard, winning historic recognition that helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet bloc and eventually catapulting their leader, electrician Lech Walesa, to the Polish presidency. Thirty years later, the plans that are being laid in the same shipyard might not shake the world, but they could make it quite a bit greener.Clean-energy targets set by the European Union and the opportunity created by Germany's decision to shut down its nuclear power plants by 2022 have generated momentum in Poland for increasing the country's production of offshore wind power. Currently, 90 percent of the country's electricity comes from coal.
Hub For Wind Turbine Manufacturing
With its highly skilled welders and access to shipping routes, Agence France-Presse reportedly recently, the Gdansk Shipyard looks well-positioned to help lead the charge.
According to InvestGDA, a company set up by the city of Gdasnk to promote foreign investment in the area, the shipyard can manufacture 100 wind turbines a year, a figure that will be doubled with new investments in 2012 as part of a plan to build the country's largest wind-turbine manufacturing center.
"Wind turbine energy has not only a huge potential in producing clean energy but also in terms of creating new workplaces in Poland," said Patrick Lefebvre, the managing director of Nordex Poland, which has already placed orders for Gdansk-built turbines.
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