Council boss believes Hartlepool is best place along coast for offshore wind energy

Damien Wilson from Hartlepool Borough Council

Damien Wilson from Hartlepool Borough Council

A BUSINESS expert still believes Hartlepool is the best place to invest in offshore wind energy.

Damien Wilson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s assistant director (Regeneration), spoke up to back the town’s credentials and said: “This town is the best facility on the east coast for offshore wind.

“Because of the deep water facilities and the engineering skill in the area, this would be a good investment.”

He highlighted how firms such as JDR and Heerema Hartlepool were already successful companies in the offshore wind energy market.

“They are looking to grow in terms of output and employment,” said Mr Wilson.

He added: “The port has managed to attract major investors.”

He said everything was now hanging on the Government acting to set the guidelines on tariffs for offshore energy and grants for the industry.

Mr Wilson said investors were hedging their bets, but they would be “rushing to locate” if the grant situation was sorted out.

“There is activity there,” he said: “Hartlepool still remains the best facility on the east coast.”

He said the Government had been “unclear” on the policies covering investment in wind energy which had led to major companies showing reluctance.

And where there was uncertainty, offshore energy contracts would not be awarded to any town, said Mr Wilson.

He added: “We have seen local investment and jobs, but we have not got a primary contractor.”

Hartlepool proved its potential to be a major base for wind energy development when it reached the final two contenders in the fight to win a £125m superdeal with Spanish company Gamesa.

But the contract went instead to Leith, in Scotland, in an announcement made in March 2012.

But the town has since fought back and was the base for the workforce which was developing the Teesside Offshore Windfarm.




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