North East consortium to go for offshore wind farms

A consortium of three North East organisations has been set up to bid for licences to develop offshore wind farms in the North Sea. If the consortium is successful, it could lead to the formation of a new electricity supply company based in the region to bring the power generated to consumers.

Banks Developments and Hainsford Developments, supported by NaREC, have come together to form Northumbria Offshore Wind Ltd (NOW), which offers collective expertise in technical research and development, manufacturing, operations, maintenance, project development and offshore expertise.

The consortium believes that new offshore wind energy generation projects can act as a strong economic catalyst for the North East.

The announcement follows a visit to Blythe by the government's energy minister Malcolm Wicks, who yesterday remarked that the development of wind farms in the North East could bring 30,000 jobs and £3bn of investment to the region.

NOW will bid for the offshore licences as part of the Crown Estates licencing Round Three, which is currently seeking Expressions of Interest in progressing such projects.

The NOW bid will include plans to form a new electricity supply company to offer the ‘green electricity' created in the North Sea to both business and domestic consumers.

The bid aims to build on earlier renewable energy successes in the region, including the arrival of wind turbine manufacturer Clipper Inc to develop the world's largest offshore turbine at Blyth in Northumberland.

Alan Rutherford, Chairman of NaREC, said: "This is a great initiative which will spawn major employment opportunities and build international knowledge based enterprises with their roots and expertise in the North East."

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