The winds of change welcomed

THE North-East’s wind energy industry, with Hartlepool as a potential hub, has been given a massive boost from Government officials.

The renewable energy organisation Energi Coast represents green sector firms such as JDR Cables, Heerema and Tata Steel in Hartlepool.

Its officials were today jubilant after the announcement of the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) which is the banding for the offshore 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.

But changes have been announced which increases the levels of subsidies for generated renewable electricity and experts in the North-East say it could generate between £20 billion and £25 billion of new investment in the economy between 2013 and 2017.

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.”

He said it would mean that the next bands of offshore windfarm development could start to be constructed.

“This announcement and expected investment it will generate will have a positive impact on the North-East of England as the region is well prepared to serve the next stage of offshore wind developments.

“North East England companies have already laid the foundations by creating an integrated and innovative offshore wind supply chain that can meet the requirements of developers across the European offshore wind market,” Mr Dawson added.