Steel plant breezes in on wind energy

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A £2m shot-in-the-arm was today revealed for Hartlepool’s steel industry.

Bosses are planning a massive upgrade for Tata’s Brenda Road works to get the steel company in on Hartlepool’s growing reputation as a wind energy developer.

The cash boost will secure the future for 20 workers at the plant which employs 700 people.

It comes after Tata forged a supply deal with German steel tube producer Eisenbau Krämer (EBK).

Ramsay Ross, a director for tubes at Tata Steel, said: “This investment reinforces Tata Steel’s commitment to establishing a significant presence as a supplier to the renewables sector as the drive to transform the energy supply scene in the EU gathers pace.”

The deal will see Hartlepool becoming a supply base for the steel tubes which are used in making the foundations for wind turbines.

The work needed to prepare the site for its new future is scheduled to begin this month and be finished by next spring.

Experts say the Brenda Road mill will be turned into a site where all the steel components needed for wind farm development can be sourced from a single supplier.

Once it is ready, the plant can shotblast, coat, and cut supplies to length.

It will then be able to store the finished product in kits before sending them to fabricators in the UK and mainland Europe using local deepwater ports and the UK rail network.

Mr Ross added: “We see this as a fantastic opportunity to work together with EBK, enabling us to offer an unrivalled breadth of products.”

In a separate move that will enhance its presence in the renewables market, Tata Steel has also reached a supply agreement with world-renowned steel pipe producer EBK.

Under the supply agreement, tubes from 400mm diameter upwards will be produced by Tata Steel and EBK from plate manufactured by Tata Steel’s plants in Scunthorpe or Dalzell.

Rainer Seelbach, managing director of EBK, said: “Eisenbau Krämer is pleased to be associated with this significant investment opportunity in the European renewable energy sector.

“The synergies and highly complementary production capabilities of the Tata Steel and Eisenbau Krämer pipe mills will bring to the market a level of technical competence, breadth of product portfolio and production efficiency not previously available from a single supplier in this market sector.”