High hopes for energy market

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HARTLEPOOL’S renewable energy industry is in buoyant mood after a Government boost for the offshore market.

A new certainty about the future is now evident among green firms, say bosses at the regeneration agency Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU).

They spoke after the announcement of the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) which is the banding for the offshore industry.

A TVU spokesman said the new subsidies available to renewable energy technologies would bring about “a renewed investor confidence”.

In a report on the latest progress being made in the Tees Valley, a TVU spokesman said: “The confirmation helps bring certainty to the renewables market and a renewed investor confidence.

“The announcement will further help TVU towards its ambition of creating a low carbon economy.”

He added: “The new bandings for (ROCs) were published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) following a consultation last year.

“TVU worked closely with a number of stakeholders and Tees Valley companies looking to develop and expand within the green energy sector, and submitted a detailed response to the consultation.”

He said the news of the bandings had been “positively received” and the levels of the ROCs were very much in line with the expectations expected within the industry.

ROCs are the obligations placed on licensed electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources.

They are presented by firms to the Government to show they are meeting their obligations and, when they don’t reach the levels required, firms would have to make payments.

Hartlepool is hoping to become an international hub in the offshore wind energy market and already has firms such as JDR Cables, Heerema and Tata Steel working to invest in the market.

Just last week, the renewable energy organisation Energi Coast, which represents green sector firms in Hartlepool, also welcomed the ROC announcement.

Alex Dawson, chairman of Energi Coast, said: “We believe this is the first step to creating some stability in an industry, which has the potential to become a cornerstone of a successful economy.”

Experts in the North-East say the industry could generate between £20b and £25b of new investment in the economy between 2013 and 2017.