THE Prime Minister has backed a renewable energy group which is part of an industry aiming to create thousands of jobs in the region.

The offshore wind network called Norstec was announced by David Cameron at the international Clean Energy Ministerial event in April and brought together about 20 companies.

Yesterday, with its ranks more than doubled, Norstec’s first full meeting was held in London to discuss how members could join forces to maximise the potential of a sector tipped to create up to 1,000 jobs in the North-East this year.

Norstec, which includes North-East companies such as Deep Ocean Group, JDR Cables, VSMC, Tag Energy Solutions, OGN Group, and Modus Seabed Intervention, pledged to collaborate and share information.

The Government has been accused by industry leaders of failing to show sufficient backing for offshore wind power and to reassure potential investors that it plays a key role in the UK’s energy mix.

But yesterday Mr Cameron said he was “strongly supportive of the offshore renewables sector”, adding: “As I said when I launched this network last April we are on the cusp of a second, clean energy revolution in the North Sea.

“Close collaboration between industry and Government will be critical to making this happen.”

Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary, said: “The offshore wind industry represents a massive growth opportunity for the UK and our neighbours around the northern seas, bringing jobs and reenergising once thriving industrial heartlands on the east coast and beyond.

“Norstec will help the offshore wind industry to grow and create a new industrial revolution, driving economic growth across this part of Europe.”

Darlington-based Modus became one of the first supply chain companies to join the network. The company, which delivers subsea trenching, survey, inspection and construction support services, is keen to highlight the invaluable role technology-led businesses play in delivering and maintaining sustainable energy resources from northern European waters.

Jake Tompkins, the Modus managing director, said: “Norstec will help send the message out across the world that the North Sea has the potential to become a major offshore renewables resource and that the UK has the ability and expertise to maximise the opportunities the area presents.

“There is no doubt that the growth of offshore renewables will be industry-led, particularly by innovative and technology-driven businesses like Modus that can meet the challenges of operating in the North Sea and, indeed, other offshore locations around the world.

“However, Government support will also help breed confidence in the industry and its involvement in Norstec demonstrates its support of offshore renewables and the role the sector has to play in achieving its energy targets.”