MORE than 300 jobs are being created in the North East in an offshore wind production boom thanks to more than £70m of government and private investment, Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng announced today (Wednesday).

Offshore wind manufacturer Smulders Projects UK will receive support from the Government’s £160m Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme, and will invest a further £70m to make offshore wind turbine transition pieces at their site in Wallsend.

Smulders’ new production facility will substantially boost the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing base, supplying essential components to British offshore wind farms across the UK, as well as for export around the world.

This will be a huge boost to the local economy in the North East, with up to 325 direct jobs and a similar number of indirect jobs being created and safeguarded by 2030, helping to revitalise one of England’s key industrial heartlands and bring in vital investment opportunities.

The Northern Echo:

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Our offshore wind sector is a UK success story, with more capacity installed than any other country and we are ensuring that our manufacturing base can be equally world-leading.

“Government backing and this investment from Smulders will help put the North East at the forefront of this manufacturing boom and I’m delighted to see hundreds of high-skilled jobs being created and safeguarded as we revitalise one of our key industrial heartlands.”

It is part of a larger funding package being announced today and more than £180m Government and private investment will create and safeguard more than 1,000 jobs in the North East and Humber, building factories that will develop components for next generation wind turbines.

Energy minister, Lord Callanan of Low Fell, said: “The UK is already a global leader in offshore wind, with the largest installed capacity in the world and we are ensuring that we have the manufacturing base to match our position as a trailblazer for clean renewable energy.

“The North East has a proud heritage of having powered the Industrial Revolution and this Government investment is backing Smulders to create and safeguard hundreds of jobs as we drive forward a new green revolution.”

This continues to lay the groundwork for the UK to take advantage of the booming offshore market in the UK and internationally, support up to 60,000 jobs in the industry, and help eliminate the UK’s contribution to carbon emissions by 2050.

Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said: “The UK is well-established as having the largest offshore wind capacity of any country on the planet. These investments highlight how we are building a manufacturing base that reflects our position as a world leader in this key technology and the attractiveness of the UK's clean energy sector to international investors. 

“The workers of the North East will be building the next generation of wind turbines that will not only help us meet our own climate change commitments but will be exported and can power countries all over the globe in a cleaner greener future.”

Today’s funding swiftly follows another announcement made in March this year when the government announced up to £95m investment to establish two new ports on the Humber and on Teesside to enable manufacturers to build the next generation of offshore wind projects.

READ MORE: Major new windfarm port announced on Teesside with 3,000 jobs to be created

Together these new ports will have the capacity to house up to seven manufacturers to support the development of the next-generation offshore wind projects, substantially boosting the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing base while directly creating around 3,000 new jobs each.

In addition, US energy giant GE Renewable Energy have announced an investment in a major new offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing plant, the first investment on Teesside. This brand new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will directly create around 750 jobs in the area to supply the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project.

READ MORE: Leaders react to Teesside being chosen for windfarm port

Raf Iemants, CEO of Smulders, said: “Smulders is extremely proud to further strengthen the ties with the United Kingdom with respect to Offshore Wind. 

“This significant investment shows the dedication, commitment and determination by Smulders and the UK to strive together for further increases in inward and local content in this very challenging market. 

“We look forward to increasing our long track record in UK waters with the help of our local workforce and established supply chain in the North East.” 

Mayor of North Tyneside Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I am delighted to hear about this significant investment in the Borough, which will create and protect jobs and have benefits for the wider region.

“Wallsend and the River Tyne has a rich industrial heritage and this latest investment will complement the Council’s own plans, through our Ambition for North Tyneside vision, to continue to breathe new life into the river by working to create more and better jobs for our residents while helping businesses grow.

“We have worked closely with Smulders Projects to support their presence in the Borough and help them establish themselves on the Tyne.”

Changes to the UK’s flagship renewable energy support scheme, Contracts for Difference (CfD), are also being announced today, building on Government ambitions to onshore manufacturing in renewable energy projects, expand industrial capacity and improve competitiveness.

The Government’s main tool to ensure CfDs grow the low-carbon economy, harness innovation and drive regional growth are Supply Chain Plans, which are assessed in a questionnaire before a project can compete in a CfD auction. 

Under the reforms announced today, the Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Kwasi Kwarteng, has the ability to terminate a contract as a last resort if generators do not fulfil the Supply Chain Plan commitments they have made.