The UK government has announced that two new ports on The Humber waterway, and on Teesside in the north of England, are to be constructed as part of a £95 million investment to boost the UK’s burgeoning offshore wind industry and create 6000 new jobs in the region. The new manufacturing complex will build the next generation of offshore wind projects.
Able Marine Energy Park, on the south bank of the River Humber, will receive up to £75 million government investment, and Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre, on the River Tees, will benefit from up to £20 million. Construction will begin later this year to upgrade the two ports with new infrastructure – helping to revitalise these historically important industrial heartlands.
Together the 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. The announcement is a significant step towards delivering the UK government’s 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution, and helps meet the target to quadruple the UK’s offshore wind capacity to 40 GW by 2030.
GE to build the first factory
The first offshore wind manufacturer to invest in the Teesside port has also been revealed. Thanks to Teesside receiving free port status, as well as government backing, GE Renewable Energy has taken the decision to build a new state-of-the-art offshore wind blade manufacturing factory at the site. Due to open and start production in 2023, the GE Renewables factory will produce WTG blades to be supplied to the Dogger Bank wind farm, located in the North Sea off the North East coast. When it is completed it will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world with three arrays of 1.2 GW each.
Construction will start on the Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre later this year. This part of the complex will include GE Renewable Energy’s new factory; industry experts are saying that GE's arrival will turn the former SSI steelworks site into a ‘high-tech clean energy powerhouse’. Once complete, the port will have the potential to support the development of 100 turbines a year.
The GE plant will produce sets of 107m blades for GE’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbines at Dogger Bank which is due for completion in 2026. The company will start production in 2023, with installation of the blades expected to start in 2024.