The grant is being funded via the Tees Valley Industrial Programme (TVIP) and will form part of a £20m project to develop state of the art production facilities at TAG’s Haverton Hill base in Billingham, to roll tubulars and manufacture the foundations that support wind turbines in the offshore wind energy industry.
The project itself will create 110 new jobs and safeguard a further 33, but total employment linked to the project is estimated at over 400.
TAG ES CEO, Alex Dawson, said: “The existing TAG facilities offer developers an integrated manufacturing, marshalling, assembly and load out capability perfectly situated on the River Tees on the east coast of the UK, being very well placed for the largest planned offshore wind farm developments for the UK.
“The two principle challenges facing offshore wind energy are an absolute shortage of supply capacity and a need to significantly reduce costs. The facility proposed by TAG will make a significant contribution to the solution for both of these concerns. The local skills base in this type of work is second to none and this welcome development will bring much needed jobs to the region.”
A host of high-profile global companies are in the process of launching large-scale offshore wind energy projects with potential contracts ranging from £6.5m to a potential £215m.
TAG’s project has already received £1.5m from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to develop the innovative technology required for the high-tech manufacturing.
David Eason, Chairman of TAG welcomed this news and said: “It is encouraging to receive this support for TAG and I would personally like to thank DECC, One North East and our local MP, Frank Cook who has been a major supporter of our activities at Haverton Hill since the first day I established our presence here in 2001.”
One North East Director of Business and Industry, Ian Williams, said: “I am delighted One North East has been able to support a regional company take advantage of the investment opportunities in the offshore wind sector.
“TAG is benefiting from skills it has honed over years working in the offshore oil and gas industry – skills that are proving invaluable as the Government places increasing emphasis on the development and exploitation of the UK’s offshore wind power resources.
“North East firms are already starting to profit from this major growth sector, which represents the largest manufacturing opportunities the UK has seen in decades. The new offshore wind farms will make the UK the world’s most significant offshore wind market and will provide the potential to generate a quarter of the UK’s electricity by 2020, creating up to 70,000 new jobs in the process.”
The automated facility at Billingham will be capable of producing piles, monopiles, tripiles, tripods, jackets, suction buckets, fully outfitted transition pieces and mast/towers – all essential in the manufacture and assembly of offshore wind turbines.
TVU Chair Hugh Lang said: “Haverton Hill has a proud history as a major construction facility and it is good to see that it is now set to play a leading role in ensuring that the Tees Valley and the region as a whole is able to become a major centre for wind turbines manufacture.
“Central to Tees Valley Unlimited’s ambitions for the area’s economic regeneration is maximizing the opportunities available through the growth of the low carbon economy and renewable energy technology.”
The North East’s reputation built working in the offshore oil and gas and shipbuilding industries has already seen major renewable contracts awarded to firms like Heerema and McNulty Offshore in South Tyneside, as well as new investment from JDR Cables in Hartlepool.
Following the announcement of nine new wind farms off the UK coast, as part of the Crown Estates Round 3 leasing programme, the opportunities for manufacturing in the sector will continue to grow as capacity is increased to support the UK’s ambitious wind programme.
The European Union is targeting 20% of its energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. Wind energy is one of the most established and mature renewable energy sources. Since 2000 over 30% of new electricity generating capacity has been wind power.
One North East and the Government have pledged £60m to support the Tees Valley’s transition to low carbon and advanced manufacturing industries through the Tees Valley Industrial Programme.
The Tees Valley Industrial Programme is supporting companies through the Grant for Business Investment product, which is part of Solutions for Business – the Government’s package of publicly funded support products offering help to companies to start, grow and succeed. Solutions for Business makes it easier for companies to get the advice and assistance that they need.
US engineering giant General Electric has announced it is to build a wind turbines manufacturing plant in the UK, resulting in £100m of investment and the creation of 2,000 jobs.
Mitsubishi is looking at sites for a wind turbine research centre creating 1,500 jobs, possibly in the North East. Successful bidders for nine new UK wind farms were announced in January.
The new offshore wind farms will make the UK the world’s most significant offshore wind market and will provide the potential to generate a quarter of the UK’s electricity by 2020, creating up to 70,000 new jobs in the process.