Wind farm firm to create 1,000 jobs

An engineering firm is to create up to 1,000 new jobs after receiving a Government grant to build foundations for offshore wind farms, it has been announced.

Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN) said the £640,000 grant was a "vote of confidence" for its move into offshore wind power technology.

The firm said it will build a prototype steel-jacketed foundation at its site in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, starting later this year.

The foundation structures will be designed for large wind turbine generators in waters over 30 metres (100ft) deep.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: "The coalition is determined to drive ambitious green growth and this is putting our money where our mouth is. This cash shows we are delivering on our commitment to support innovation and offshore wind.

"Making wind turbines more efficient is common sense and will help bring down the costs, making them more attractive to build and helping us increase the amount of electricity we get from clean, green sources.

"It’s great to see OGN North Sea Ltd stepping up to the challenge to ensure offshore wind energy is produced in the most cost-effective way."

OGN chief executive David Edwards said: "We are delighted to have been selected for this grant. Government support is especially vital in the early stages of project development. The offshore wind energy market is crucial to Britain’s future energy needs and we will do our utmost to ensure that this grant takes the UK into an even stronger role as the lead player in this sector."

Graham Kennedy, OGN’s chief technical officer, said: "The offshore wind market is dynamic and requires an efficient and driven supply chain to support and deliver its objectives – our Triton design and technology has the potential to reduce the costs of offshore wind foundations by at least 25%, making wind energy a viable renewable energy source for the UK." OGN was founded in 2010 and employs around 1,200 workers in Wallsend and Lowestoft, in Suffolk.