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People on a beach overshadowed by an offshore wind farm

‘Offshore wind ports’ plan unveiled for Teesside and Humber

Image credit: Dreamstime

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to invest up to £95m to create offshore wind ports at Teesside and Humber.

Construction work on two new coastal offshore wind hubs in northeast England will begin later this year, after the Government confirmed its investment towards the flagship projects to support its ambition for every UK home to be powered by offshore wind within a decade.

Able Marine Energy Park on the south bank of the River Humber is to receive up to £75m of the funding, while Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre on the River Tees will benefit from up to £20m. There is also a plan to upgrade both ports so they can support the burgeoning North Sea offshore wind industry.

According to the Government, once complete, the two ports will have the capacity to support the development of up to 9GW of energy offshore wind projects each year. They claim the facilities will provide sufficient capacity to power around eight million homes.

Johnson said upgrading the two ports was key to delivering the UK’s target for 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, adding that Humber and Teesside will “put the wind in the sails of our new green industrial revolution”, building the next generation of offshore wind turbines whilst creating around 6,000 new green jobs in the process.

The Humber region is already home to six operational offshore wind farms – including the world’s largest, Hornsea One  while Teesside was recently at the centre of a deal struck by GE Renewable Energy to supply 190 of its 14MW turbines for Dogger Bank.

Johnson said the announcement would significantly speed up development at the two already well-established offshore wind hubs. “Our multi-million-pound investment in these historic coastal communities is a major step towards producing the clean, cheap energy we need to power our homes and economy without damaging the environment,” he added.

The Government has confirmed GE Renewable Energy to be the first to invest in the Teesside port, where it plans to build a new offshore wind blade manufacturing factory employing around 750 people, besides supporting 1,500 further indirect roles in the region.

“The offshore wind sector is a major British industrial success story, providing cheap, green electricity while supporting thousands of good-quality jobs,” said business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. “While the UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, we are determined to ensure we are fully capturing the economic benefits in this country.”

To ensure businesses, supply chains and a high-skilled workforce can fully share in the sector’s success, Kwarteng added the investment in the Humber region and Teesside will put the UK in “pole position” to land new offshore wind investors. “It will ramp up our domestic manufacturing base and create thousands of good jobs in our industrial heartlands,” he explained.

Peter Stephenson, executive chairman of the Able Group, said: “The Government has set clear policies that provide the offshore wind sector with far greater certainty and market visibility. At the same time, the sector itself has responded with remarkable innovations and cost reductions, which now see it successfully competing with other energy sources.”

Stephenson said the company will seek to maximise the benefits, locally and nationally, through increased UK content, new jobs, and new opportunities for local businesses.

Last October, Johnson outlined how the UK should “build back greener” by quadrupling offshore wind energy capacity as a way to recover from the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Here, he announced a £160m investment into ports and factories as part of the drive to boost offshore wind capacity to 40GW by 2030.

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