ENERGY Minister Charles Hendry reckoned the Tees Valley had made a strong case to beat a rival site in Scotland for a proposed £150m wind farm factory.

Hartlepool is in direct competition with Leith, near Edinburgh to win the investment from Spanish firm Gamesa, which could create more than 1,000 jobs.

The project to build wind turbines, towers and blades would transform the economic fortunes of the town, according to Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond.

Gamesa's decision, which Mr Hendry said was imminent, would also be a significant blow in the battle between Scotland and the North-East to be regarded as the centre for the UK's offshore wind industry.

Speaking yesterday after he addressed business leaders at the NOF Energy conference in Gateshead, Mr Hendry said: "It is encouraging to see this type of investment being made in the renewable energy sector and it would be very positive news if it comes to this region. Everything is in place here for the project to become a success and we hope that Hartlepool has made a good case.

"Ultimately the decision lies with Gamesa and we havent heard which way they are leaning."