Durham Tees Valley Airport could become home to a heliport for a major off-shore wind project, if plans to bring it into public ownership are given the green light.
Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, has said the heliport would bring long-term jobs to Teesside as part of operations to service and maintain the world’s largest wind project, Dogger Bank.
A statement from the mayor’s office said developers SSE and Norwegian energy giant Equinor will consider the airport as a base for the wind farm, currently under construction in the North Sea.
The Mayor’s office said the plans would see engineers and support staff mobilised directly from the heliport at Durham Tees Valley Airport – during the construction and operational phases of the project.
“Equinor say the plans for public ownership of DTVA will ensure that the airport is favourably considered above others sites across the region,” the statement continued.
“Should the plans for the airport gain approval this week, the joint venture between the two companies will likely require a heliport to support the transfer of people to and from the £3.2bn wind farm project – located more than 100 miles off the coast of Redcar.”
The mayor’s office says Dogger Bank will provide the UK with 4.8GW of clean, renewable power for decades – equating to around 10% of the UK’s total electricity requirements.
The power will be transported via underground, high-voltage cables to substations near Lackenby.
Around 3.6GW of the total output will be handled by the joint venture between SSE and Equinor.
Mayor Houchen and officials say they have been working with Dogger Bank Wind Farms on a deal since 2017.
Equinor-SSE has also invited the mayor to address a conference on innovation in offshore wind in Newcastle later this month.
Senior representatives from some of the offshore wind industry’s leading players will hear the mayor’s pitch on why they should consider basing themselves at DTVA.
Halfdan Brustad, vice president of Equinor, said: “We welcome the proposal for DTVA as proposed by Mayor Ben Houchen.
“Equinor, alongside our joint venture partner SSE, have been integral to the offshore wind industry council’s work on development of a sector deal for offshore wind.
“This deal will support the growth of a number of offshore wind supply chain clusters including in the North East.
“The development of the Dogger Bank Wind Farms is expected to offer a range of opportunities for companies in the North East cluster.
“The mayor’s plans for DTVA provide a positive step in the development of this cluster, which will in turn provide opportunities for significant numbers of jobs and economic development in the area.”
Mayor Houchen said the deal could only go ahead if his plan for public ownership of the airport is approved later this week.
“The Tees Valley has one of the UK’s greatest concentrations of companies operating in the offshore oil and gas, subsea, decommissioning and offshore wind sectors.
“The supply chain alone is made up of over 400 direct and 3,000 indirect companies that employ over 4,250 people.
“With today’s huge announcement from Equinor and SSE, that figure has the potential to grow substantially.
“I have always said that my plan to save our airport isn’t just about flights to Costa del Sol, we need to also attract commercial investors like Equinor and SSE to get our airport back into profit.
“I’m delighted these two huge companies are willing to put their faith in our airport.
“Our success as a region depends on our ability to work, trade and collaborate with old friends and new allies around the world.
“That means we have to be as accessible, visible, competitive and pro-active as possible.
“They’re backing my plan, and I hope many others do as well.”