THE Energy Minister hailed the “green industrial revolution” taking place in the North-East yesterday as he announced a £70m investment in an offshore wind company on Tyneside.

The project, which will create 325 jobs with another 300 in the supply chain, comes hard on the heels of the £140m investment by GE Renewables on Teesside two months ago in a wind turbine plant manufacturing plant, which will create 750 jobs plus another 1,500 in the supply chain.

Both Smulders, the Wallsend company behind yesterday’s announcement, and GE Renewables will supply the Dogger Bank windfarm off the North-East which, when complete in 2026, will be the biggest in the world generating enough power for six million homes.

“I term it the green industrial revolution,” Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng told The Northern Echo. “The old ways of producing power, and the world we grew up with, are changing. Burning coal was how we got our power, but those days are over – it is now only two per cent of our electricity generation and by 2024 it will be zero.

“Offshore wind is a big British success story, we have something like 35 per cent of global capacity – 10.4 Gigawatts – so we are a world leader, and I think the role of the North-East, and its neighbour in the Humber estuary, have been critical in that. The green industrial revolution is going to be centred around a lot of what you are doing in the North-East.”

The Government aims to quadruple offshore wind capacity by 2030 so that it produces 40GW, which would be enough to power every UK home.

Mr Kwarteng said this week’s announcement of Nissan’s new battery factory at Sunderland showed how the regional economy was going green.

“The challenge of meeting climate change represents an opportunity to rethink our economy, creating new jobs, creating new skills which are going to be relevant in the next decades, so we are trying to create a new world,” said Mr Kwarteng.

Energy minister Lord Callanan of Low Fell, the former North-East Conservative MEP, said: “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.”

Just like with the Nissan gigafactory, Mr Kwarteng could not reveal how much the Government was putting into the Smulders project for reasons of commercial sensitivity, but he said: “Across the world, it is no secret that that transition away from fossil fuels is being encouraged by government support, and if we didn’t support it we would be criticised as the French and Germans are spending billions.

“I think we have struck a winning formula. Whatever the Government puts in is dwarfed by the private investment.”

The Smulders deal is the first of the Government’s Contracts for Difference which contain a clause that 60 per cent of the manufacturing has to be done by UK workers.