A TEES Valley wind turbine foundation plant said the blow of seeing a major contract on its doorstep go to a Belgian rival would not derail development of the regions burgeoning offshore energy industry.
Tag Energy Solutions played down the significance that energy firm EDF had overlooked local companies to supply parts for a wind farm being built 1.5km off the coast at Redcar, in east Cleveland.
The building of the 27 turbine wind farm is being managed by EDF Energy Renewables from its Wilton office, on Teesside.
Loading article content
Positive comments from a number of North-East MPs had earlier fuelled hopes that the Tag plant at Haverton Hill, Billingham was in pole position to make monopiles for the project. However, The Northern Echo understands that Tag had never regarded the deal as a priority and is confident its plans to supply a global market remain on track.
Nevertheless, the contract snub means that the plant, which was officially opened by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne in September, is still awaiting its first major deal, although it has picked up a number of smallerscale orders and it has several bids in the pipeline.
Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, was disappointed that EDF hadnt favoured local suppliers and he called on the government to ensure British companies were given priority over foreign competitors.
He said: "I would have hoped that since the wind farm is being built off Redcar, that EDF Energy Renewables would have given strong consideration to using local industry for parts such as the monopiles.
"The government has failed to take the necessary action to ensure that those building wind farms in Britain and in British waters use British suppliers. At the moment, they are simply not providing the economic benefit that they should be."
Mr Blenkinsopp wanted answers from Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, about how procurement decisions are made. But Alex Dawson, Chief Executive of Tag, who is also chairman of offshore energy cluster group Energi Coast, reckoned the government was being supportive of the industry.
"We welcome the Department of Energy and Climate Changes proposal to ensure that 50 per cent of UK wind farm content should be provided by British companies," he said. "This is a commitment for which North East Englands Renewables group, Energi Coast, have been campaigning for some time."
Mr Dawson added: "Regarding the Teesside wind farm we had a number of discussions with EDF Energy Renewables, they were very supportive and clearly recognised Tag Energy Solutions capability.
"From an Energi Coast perspective this is seen as missed opportunity for the regions supply chain in a number of aspects and a disappointment for North-East companies. From a Tag Energy Solutions perspective, our business plan for 2012 is unaffected.
"We continue to take on new people and have recently won a contract, which will start this month In addition we are tendering for a considerable amount of work, which we are confident will lead to significant contracts for the company."