Hartlepool college hopes to benefit after plans for world’s largest wind farm revealed

Principal Darren Hankey in the college's Skills Academy.

Principal Darren Hankey in the college's Skills Academy.

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A Hartlepool college is confident of getting some spin-off benefits after plans for the world’s largest offshore wind farm were given the green light.

Approval was granted for Dogger Bank’s Teesside A&B development this week. It could create more than 4,700 jobs and is being developed by offshore wind consortium Forewind.

The college’s Skills Academy houses a nacelle, a Siemens control panel and a 50ft wind turbine blade so we are well placed to provide the necessary skills training should investment come to the Tees Valley or beyond.

Darren Hankey, principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education

The news was welcomed by Darren Hankey, principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

He said he was confident his campus can provide support. Mr Hankey said: “A few years ago we were part of a bid that went over to Spain to talk to Gamesa, a wind turbine manufacturer, about a possible relocation to Hartlepool.”

And while that did not work out, the college “realised that offshore wind was going to be a big part of the economy for the Tees Valley and when we moved to our new campus in 2011, we invested in the relevant hardware,” said Mr Hankey.

“We’ve met with people from Forewind and this week’s news was a further step along the track of this project being delivered.”

The combined 400-turbine development is the largest renewable energy application ever to be approved in the UK, and could power up to two million homes once up and running.

Hartlepool College of Further Education specialises in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

Mr Hankey added: “The college’s Skills Academy houses a nacelle, a Siemens control panel and a 50ft wind turbine blade so we are well placed to provide the necessary skills training should investment come to the Tees Valley or beyond.”