Caroline Flint MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has visited three of Alstom’s key sites in Stafford.
The visit took in Alstom’s transformer factory, where the team is building some of the largest transformers they have ever constructed for export to India. Rated at 800kV, the transformers are almost three times as powerful as anything currently operating in the UK.
Ms Flint also visited the company’s Welding School, which trains Alstom’s own apprentice welders and hundreds of others from the industry, before going on to the state-of-the-art production facility currently building key equipment for a new power line in Sweden.
Terence Watson, Alstom’s UK President, said: “We were delighted to be able to show Caroline around our Stafford facilities which cover both our Grid and Power activities.
“It was a particularly well-timed visit as we were able to show off the first of the massive transformers that we’re building for a project in India, and also to highlight our commitment to skills and training at the Welding School.
“With the need for new power stations and to re-wire much of the UK’s power infrastructure much in the news, I’m sure that this visit will have brought such topics to life for everyone.”
Caroline Flint said: "It was great to see first-hand the contribution Alstom makes to British manufacturing.
"The transition to a low carbon economy has the potential to be a major source of jobs and growth in the UK. That's why Labour will put in place a target to decarbonise our power sector by 2030, to bring forward much needed investment in clean energy.”
The Stafford transformer factory is currently building some of the largest transformers they have ever created to help connect the power stations of Champa to Khurukshetra in Northern India through an energy superhighway over a 1,365km transmission line.
The state-of-the-art high voltage power lines will have a voltage of 800kV, which is almost three times as powerful as the highest voltage lines in the UK (which are rated at 332kV). Alstom in Stafford is a world leader in the technology utilised in the project.
While at the Welding School, Ms Flint met Alstom apprentice Kurt Rodgers, who won a gold medal at the recent SkillWeld 2013 competition at the NEC. Kurt now has the chance to represent the UK at WorldSkills 2015 in Sao Paulo.
Alstom employs around 1,800 people at its sites in Stafford and is the town’s biggest employer.
Alstom’s UK presence can be traced back to 1889 with the formation of the General Electric Company Ltd and to Stephenson’s Rocket, which was built to serve the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company. The merger of GEC and Compagnie D'Electricite (CGE) in 1989 - created GEC Alsthom, which eventually became Alstom in 1998. Today Alstom has more than 30 key locations across the country and employs around 6,500 people.
Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind, and it offers a wide range of solutions for power transmission, with a focus on smart grids. The Group employs 92,000 people in around 100 countries. It had sales of €20 billion and booked close to €22 billion in orders in 2011/12.
Jonathan Smith, Head of Media Relations, Alstom UK
Tel 01788 545602 or 07801 775650