FUNDING has been secured to create a £20m wind farm manufacturing facility on Teesside, which could create up to 400 jobs.
Billingham-based TAG Energy Solutions has secured the financing required to create the UK’s first offshore windmill tubular foundation manufacturing facility for North Sea wind farms.
TAG Energy Solutions will develop the new facility in the former shipyard at Haverton Hill, Billingham, after securing financial support from international venture capital players Platina Partners and Environmental Technologies Fund (ETF).
The factory will manufacture the structures needed to support the turbines on the sea bed and will complement the one being constructed by Clipper on the banks of the Tyne which will make the turbines.
The initial phase of development will create 100 new jobs for a core workforce and a further 300 jobs to service orders.
David Eason, chairman of TAG Energy Solutions, said: “This is a major step forward in positioning UK manufacturing as a serious player in the creation of offshore wind farms.
“With the support of a robust and experienced supply chain, together with a locally-sourced and highly-regarded skills base, we are perfectly placed to create a world-class manufacturing facility serving the renewable energy sector.
“With direct access to the North Sea through our riverside location, we have a geographical advantage over international competitors.”
Alex Dawson, chief executive of TAG Energy Solutions, added: “Offshore wind presents a tremendous opportunity with investment planned on known projects amounting to more than £100bn in UK waters alone.
“We’re currently the market leader in installed wind farms yet only a tiny proportion of the investment stays within UK plc.
“Other countries have already taken the lead by investing in the offshore wind supply chain, meaning that a huge proportion of the developers’ money and the subsidies from the UK taxpayer end up in hands of those other countries. Hopefully the UK can now start redressing this imbalance.”
The creation of the facility will enable TAG to deliver the foundation and transition pieces to support the North Sea wind farms.
TAG will develop a production facility for the rolling and welding of large diameter tubes and the construction of subsea foundations for offshore windmills.
Today’s news adds to Teesside’s growing presence in the wind farm sector. Last month Corus announced plans for a £31.5m turbine factory on Teesside; and JDR Cables, the UK’s only subsea cabler, is investing £11m to double the size of its Hartlepool Dock factory.
As well as the investment by Platina and ETF, grants totaling £3m have been committed by Department for Energy and Climate Change and regional development agency One North East.
Ian Williams, ONE’s director of business and industry, said: “When you consider the other energy sector-focused countries bordering the North Sea, such as Norway and the Netherlands, which could have been the first to establish this kind of facility, it is a fantastic achievement that the North East is on course to become the hub for renewable energy development.”
Sam Goss, senior investment manager at Platina Partners, added: “The creation of this facility will be a huge boost for the North-east and job opportunities in the region.”
Haverton Hill had previously being earmarked as location for oil rig construction but suffered a huge blow last year when it lost the Sea Dragon oil rig building project to a Singapore yard, despite having started work on it.
Mr Eason went on to say it has since being compensated for that loss and is now focusing on the offshore wind industry.