The Teesside company planning to develop a £450m energy park on the Humber says the Government’s strategy to strengthen the UK’s position in the offshore wind industry is dependent on providing the facilities which can attract major turbine manufacturers and their supply chains.
Billingham-based Able UK is awaiting a decision from the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin on its plans for Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP), covering 865 acres on the south bank of the Humber, providing state-of-the-art quayside facilities for the manufacture, assembly and installation of offshore renewable technologies which will create 4,000 jobs directly.
Neil Etherington, group development director with Able UK, said: “The strategy is certainly another step in the right direction and it is both candid and pragmatic.
“The very fact that the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Energy Secretary Ed Davey chose to launch the strategy in Lincolnshire underlines the importance of the Humber in delivering the Government’s ambitions, The UK leads the world in installed offshore wind capacity, but up to now none of the components for the turbines have been manufactured here.
“We will only change that imbalance if we can offer facilities tailor made for the industry, able to attract the major international players and draw in supply chain companies.
“It is all very well having the biggest market but if we have to rely on imported products the benefits are hard to see and the sceptics would be entitled to ask some pretty searching questions.
“The key challenge facing the offshore wind industry is to reduce costs and the best way of achieving that is through a multi-user facility which can generate a cluster of both turbine manufacturers and their suppliers, large and small.
“Only the best facilities will turn the Government’s ambitious strategy into reality and maximise the opportunities for both job and wealth creation. That is why the pending planning decision is so important to the region, the UK economy and the thousands of local people who stand to gain jobs from its development.”