‘Town could be key wind energy player for next 50 years’

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HARTLEPOOL could be a major player in the wind energy sector for the next 50 years.

And the battle to make it a base for offshore wind development needs to start now, say campaigners who have just met for a key meeting of top Tees Valley executives.

Experts from firms such as JDR Cables, Heerema Hartlepool and CTC Marine joined Hartlepool MP Iain Wright for a conference at the headquarters of PD Ports, the owners of dockland in Hartlepool.

They are all members of the recently formed group called Chain Reaction which is a cluster of organisations representing Teesside’s growing renewable energy sector and its associated supply chain.

They held a strategy meeting to determine how the group should develop moving forwards. The cluster, also consisting of senior level representatives from NOF Energy, EIC, and TATA also met with officials from The Crown Estate. Mr Wright said: “Offshore wind energy generation aims to deliver a quarter of the UK electricity needs by 2020. 

“I think this industry will provide the main source of employment and prosperity for Teesside, and Hartlepool in particular, for the next fifty years.”

But he added: “We have to grasp the challenges and opportunities now. We can only achieve this goal through collaboration with private industry and public bodies and I therefore welcome the economic benefits and potential for new jobs that the Chain Reaction cluster could bring to our area.”

Adrian Fox, supply chain manager for The Crown Estate, said several manufacturers were hoping to locate on the east coast of the UK and see this as the starting point for a number of key decisions happening in the coming months.

He said: “We are hopeful that the Tees Valley will be seeing its share of the potential business.”

Paul Barker, business development director at PD Ports, added: “Chain Reaction is an important collective voice, with members acknowledging that we need to work together to make our goal a reality.

“Teesside has the ideal skills, infrastructure and heritage to make this a success, as well as a deep sea port so critical to the huge-scale engineering required for off-shore wind developments.”

Neil Kenley, director of business investment at Tees Valley Unlimited told the Mail late last year that Hartlepool was being touted as a base for the offshore wind energy sector and major firms, which can not yet be identified, have inquired about coming to town.

Anyone interested in joining the Chain Reaction network, or finding our more information, should contact paul.barker@pdports.co.uk.