Wind power fuels high hopes

PAUL BARKER: 'We are playing to our strengths in Hartlepool.'
PAUL BARKER: 'We are playing to our strengths in Hartlepool.'

HARTLEPOOL is on the verge of becoming the hub of wind energy in the North-East, say port chiefs.

All that it could take to attract massive levels of investment is a “ripple effect”, said Paul Barker, the development director with PD Ports at a media briefing to highlight the progress being made.

Speaking on board a harbour boat that toured the River Tees and Teesside coastline, Mr Barker said numerous firms seemed to be waiting for a signal that the time was right to invest in wind farms.

He claimed that once the momentum gets going numerous companies will move in. Hartlepool had already stolen a march on its rivals by showing its keenness to invest and its co-ordinated attitude to development, said Mr Barker.

Other towns were trying to attract wind farm industry by showing artists’ impressions to potential clients.

But the position in Hartlepool is different, he said. “We are good to go,” he added.

Cable firm JDR had already taken the plunge and invested in Hartlepool. It had already clinched huge orders and taken its workforce to 80.

That was an indication that Hartlepool was already putting the facilities in place for potential investors, said Mr Barker.

“We are playing to our strengths in Hartlepool,” he added. “Many other ports are trying to be everything to everyone. We have said we will push the potential of Hartlepool as a renewable centre and Teesport as a more unitised retail side.”

Mr Barker said investors who were looking at the UK still had long-held fears such as whether they would be hit by strikes and industrial disputes.

He said the Tees Valley was “determined to be an area saying ‘we can do that. Gizza job.’

“They think that we still do industrial disputes which is wrong. We are saying this is the Tees Valley, bring the investment on.”