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UK Government: North East set to be manufacturing hub for offshore wind

Jul 21, 2008 - M2 Presswire

Expansion in offshore wind could create up to 30,000 new jobs in manufacturing and bring GBP3 billion of investment to the North East, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks will say during a visit to Gateshead and Northumberland.

Expansion in offshore wind could create up to 30,000 new jobs in manufacturing and bring GBP3 billion of investment to the North East, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks will say during a visit to Gateshead and Northumberland.

Californian energy giant Clipper Wind has already been attracted to invest at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) at Blyth, which is emerging as one of the leading centres in the world for introducing new renewable technologies to the market, particularly offshore wind.

The Minister will officially unveil the building and equipment at NaREC where Clipper Wind plans to develop the world's largest wind turbine, which will be almost ten times taller than the 'Angel of the North'. He will also meet a number of other leading offshore wind technology companies and view new facilities being developed with major turbine blade firms, which are working to realise the UK's massive expansion in offshore wind.

It's estimated around 3000 extra offshore wind turbines will be needed to help the UK towards meeting its proposed EU target of 15% of total energy being generated from renewable sources by 2020.

Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks said:

"The North East already has a wealth of skills and experience in the manufacturing sector to diversify in to the green energy market.

"The region is a pioneer in offshore wind. Blyth was the location for the first wind turbines to be subject to the full force of the weather and waves in the North Sea. The New and Renewable Energy Centre is setting a fantastic example and I hope many other manufacturing companies will recognise the opportunities a shift to a low carbon economy will create.

"Offshore wind will play a significant role in helping us meet our challenging targets for a massive increase in the amount of energy generated from renewables. With our plans to increase the financial support for offshore wind, it is further evidence of our commitment to make the UK one of the most attractive places to invest in green energy."

Margaret Fay, Chairman of One NorthEast, said:

"The North East has always been recognised for its excellence in energy - coals and Newcastle is a connection made across the world.

But now we are leading the way in renewables and combining that expertise with manufacturing. The New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) is working in partnership with Government, businesses and universities and emerging as one of the leading centres in the world for introducing new energy technologies to the market, particularly offshore wind. These strengths have helped attract Clipper Windpower from the USA to develop the world's largest wind turbine in the region; the first stage in the creation of what we believe will be thousands of new jobs in manufacturing.

"We are well placed to spearhead the UK's development of offshore wind farms. The region has the skills in the offshore sector, the ready-made sites along the rivers for companies to utilise and public sector research and development support to turn the region into a European hub for the fabrication, assembly and delivery of offshore wind turbines."

As part of his visit to the North East, the Minister will also host a roadshow with local businesses to discuss how manufacturing can best compete in a global economy. The roadshow held in partnership with One NorthEast, the Regional Development Agency, will take place at the Baltic Centre in Gateshead with an audience of manufacturing companies. Delegates will be encouraged to discuss and debate how Government can help the manufacturing sector capitalise on the opportunities presented as the UK moves towards a low carbon economy.

Government is already supporting manufacturing through: - The Manufacturing Advisory Service, which has helped companies to generate added value of GBP540 million

- The R&D Tax Credit, which has supported GBP16.6 billion worth of research and development expenditure since 2000

- The Science Budget, which will reach just under GBP4 billion by 2010-11, recognising the critical role of the research base

- The Technology Programme, which is supporting over 600 Collaborative R&D projects across 40 technology areas

- The National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, launched in Jan 2007, aims to deliver courses designed by industry for industry, training 40,000 employees a year by 2012

Notes to Editors:

1. The Government announced in November 2007 that it was reviewing its manufacturing strategy aimed at ensuring Government is doing all it can to assist UK manufacturing compete globally and take advantage of exciting new markets.

2. The Government is keen to seek views from business on the future of UK manufacturing as part of the process of refreshing the Manufacturing Strategy. Roadshows have also been held in Derby and Bristol to obtain views from manufacturers on the structure of a renewed Government policy framework for supporting the sector. These views will be considered in formulating the revised strategy. The Review is expected to be published in late summer.

3. The Government's current Manufacturing Strategy was put in place in 2002 to help UK companies to meet the challenge of globalisation and technological advance and to develop a modern, high value manufacturing sector.

4. Manufacturing facts from the North East:

* Manufacturing is important to the North East with growth in automotives, process industries and energy.

* 5000 businesses engaged in manufacturing in North East with 200,000 people employed, about 20% of total work force.

* GBP8bn worth of goods and related services are exported, making the North East an overall net exporter.

* North East optimistic about securing around GBP3bn of investment in offshore wind market.

* One NorthEast committed GBP4.2m to fund the Energy Resource Efficiency Programme, which aims to reduce energy costs and wastage in up to 160 businesses.

* In automotives industry: Nissan's Qashqai model proving a big success. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Carlos Ghosn, the President of Nissan Renault announced further investment in a new model to be produced at Sunderland.

* In process industries (including chemicals and pharmaceuticals): GBP1.5bn of investment over the last 2 years with a further GBP3bn in the pipeline.

* In energy: Clipper Wind to develop the world's largest wind turbine at the New and Renewable Energy Centre at Blyth.

5. Top ten facts about British manufacturing that you didn't know:

* Manufacturing sector productivity has grown by 50% since 1997, contributing to making the UK's productivity growth the fastest in the G7 between 1997 and 2006. This impressive performance has been underpinned by a move to higher value-added, knowledge intensive sectors, based on innovation and R&D. Indeed manufacturing now accounts for three quarters of business R&D investment

* There are 3.1 million jobs in the manufacturing sector, adding over GBP150bn a year to the economy

* Globally the UK Aerospace industry is second only to the US, with a turnover of GBP19.82bn and R&D investment of GBP2.7bn

* Six out of the top ten global vehicle makers and 19 of the top 20 auto parts makers have a UK manufacturing presence

* Space is one of the highest value adding sectors in Britain today. It supports up to 70,000 jobs throughout the UK and contributes nearly GBP7bn to the economy

* The UK construction equipment sector is worth in excess of GBP8.5bn per year of which around 75% is exported

* The UK is ranked as the 8th most entrepreneurial country in the world with 3.2% of the adult population demonstrating entrepreneurial activity

* There are 460 foundries in the UK producing world-class castings of exotic materials - the UK is a strong player in the global castings industry

* Six out of 10 Formula One teams are based in the UK - Renault, Williams, Honda, McLaren, Red Bull Racing and Force India

* We are moving rapidly to emerging sectors like nanotechnology and green technologies

6. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies

M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at on the world wide web. Inquiries to


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