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A global offshore wind manufacturer will build a new multimillion-pound state-of-the-art wind turbine blade manufacturing factory on Teesworks it was announced today (10 March), in a major vote of confidence for the site.
A deal was struck with GE Renewables Energy for its new facility to be based on Teesworks, ahead of another location in France. It will sit alongside a new port being created on-site, making it the UK’s premier location for offshore wind.
The blades produced by GE Renewables Energy will be supplied to the Dogger Bank wind farm, around 80 miles off the coast which, when completed in 2026, will be the largest offshore wind farm in the UK and will be capable of powering up to six million homes.
Teesworks is being supported with £20million of Government cash towards the build-out of the new heavy lift quay being built on the site, with the expectation that South Bank will house up to three manufacturers to support the development of the next-generation of offshore wind projects, substantially boosting the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing base and creating thousands of local jobs.
The news comes just days after it was announced in the Spring Budget that Teesside would become the UK’s largest Freeport following a successful bid led by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen – a condition that was the deciding factor for GE Renewables Energy.
Mayor Houchen said: “This monumental deal reached today with GE Renewables Energy, to bring their multimillion-pound manufacturing facility to Teesside and creating more than 2,000 local jobs, is a major step forward for my plan to bring skilled good-quality jobs to local people.
“Having a global manufacturer with the calibre and reputation of GE Renewables Energy, in the UK’s largest freeport with the skills and expertise we have in the region, shows just how far we’ve come with our plan to regenerate a site that sorely needs it.
“The closure of the steelworks in 2015 was a blow that some people thought we’d never recover from. When I was elected Mayor, I made a promise to local people that I would breathe new life into the former steelworks site. I had a plan that would see the site become home to good-quality well paid jobs for local people and I pledged that brighter days were ahead.
“Since then, we’ve taken back control of the site, we’re demolishing and clearing land ready for new investment as part of a vast regeneration programme, and we’ve created over 500 construction jobs as part of my plan to get the site ready, with hundreds more to come.
“Just last week our plans to regenerate the Teesworks site were turbocharged when the Chancellor gave the green light to the Teesside Freeport – the UK’s biggest freeport.
“But this is just the beginning. There’s still a long way to go to fulfil our plans, but if we continue on this path – soon the entire Teesworks site will be home to thousands more jobs and Teesside will lead the UK in net zero manufacturing, energy and innovation.
“The mark of the Infant Hercules can still today be seen and felt across the world, but this is not our past. It is our today and our future. With this new beginning we will continue to build a new, clean, green and brighter world.”
Once complete, the Teesworks port will have the potential to support the development of 100 turbines per year. Through the new port, businesses – including smaller suppliers – across the UK will be well-placed to win contracts and attract further investment from energy companies around the world, increasing their competitive standing on the global stage.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Teesside will continue to drive forward our green industrial revolution as we capitalise on new opportunities to produce clean energy through a brand new offshore wind port on the River Tees.
“It will not only create thousands of jobs and harness the skills and expertise of this great industrial heartland, but also boost investment into the area as we build back greener.”
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Teesside has already put itself at the forefront of the government’s plans to build back greener and this new wind port will secure new jobs and clean energy for years to come.
“Given its proud industrial heritage and the skills and knowledge of the local community, Teesside is a natural fit for project like this and I have no doubt that the region will embrace this new development and the opportunities it will provide.”
President and CEO of GE Renewable Energy Jerôme Pécresse said: “This new plant will contribute to the development of an industrial cluster dedicated to offshore wind in the North East of England. GE is delighted to be able to help build a talent pool dedicated to renewable energy in a region with such potential. The UK’s target to commission 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 is ambitious and requires that we invest in the local production capabilities to accompany this effort.”
CEO of Renewables UK Hugh McNeal said: “GE Renewable Energy’s new blade turbine manufacturing plant will transform a former steelworks site on Teesside into a high-tech clean energy powerhouse, creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs in our UK supply chain. This announcement marks the start of the next generation of offshore wind manufacturing.”
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The River Tees has been a source of economic opportunity for hundreds of years, from trading the goods of the Industrial Revolution and supporting the development of our modern industries.
“The new port on the River Tees will put Teesside on the map of the green industrial revolution, driving forward UK manufacturing and powering our homes with clean, green energy. In turn, local people will reap the rewards of the new opportunities the port provides, including thousands of new jobs and investment in the region.”
Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This huge investment and creation of 750 jobs by GE, as well as an additional 1,500 jobs in the supply chain, is fantastic news for the area and shows the huge potential for growth and job creation on the Teesworks site.
“The site is being refurbished to the highest standard to attract companies just like GE who are well known for their work in the power and renewable energy sector.
“The jobs it will provide for local people will bring a better standard of living for many families and help deliver greater prosperity for Redcar and Cleveland and the Tees Valley.
“This is the news we have all been waiting for and sends out a clear message to other businesses and industrialists from around the world that there is no better place to do business and trade than Redcar and Cleveland and the Tees Valley.”