Offshore wind powers North-East jobs in a boost for UK supply chain


More than 440 jobs are being created and safeguarded across the North-East of England in an offshore wind production boom thanks to £130 million of government and private investment announced today (Tuesday, 28 September).

Offshore wind cabling manufacturer JDR Cable Systems Ltd is receiving funding from the government’s £160 million Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme, which, together with private investment from the company, will see £130 million invested in facilities that will develop and build components for next generation wind turbines.

With the investment being used to build a new factory in Cambois, near Blyth, and protect jobs at its existing facility in Hartlepool, this will be a huge boost to local economies in the North-East of England, with more than 440 jobs being created and safeguarded. Of those jobs, 270 will be protected at JDR Cable Systems’ existing factory in Hartlepool, with a further 170 created as the company builds a new production facility in Cambois.

Stimulated through the investment announced as part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, this brings the total investment of government and private sector investment to £675 million already this year, which is creating and protecting almost 3,600 jobs across the Humber and North-East whilst building the UK’s offshore wind capacity to deliver clean electricity generation as the country ends its reliance on coal for power by 2024.

As the UK steps up building a secure home-grown renewable energy sector and is reducing its reliance on unreliable fossil fuels and exposure to volatility in global wholesale energy prices, the capacity for using clean, domestic offshore wind to help power the country is set to accelerate in the next decade.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

The UK’s offshore wind sector is a major industrial success story, but we need to ensure local workers and manufacturers fully reap the economic benefits of this booming industry.

This major investment is a perfect example of how our transition to a low carbon economy can attract new industries, create jobs, reduce our reliance on unreliable fossil fuels and generate export opportunities as we build back greener from the pandemic.

Thanks to the £130 million investment, JDR Cable Systems’ new Blyth facility will supply its Hartlepool site with state-of-the-art cable cores and high voltage underwater cabling that will enable the UK to compete more effectively with foreign manufacturers and increase its standing in global export markets.

The creation of new ports and the development of new factories on the Humber and on Teesside is supporting government ambition to build a domestic manufacturing base while backing industry to reach its self-imposed target to ensure 60% of offshore wind farm content comes from the UK supply chain.

Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said:

Just as the UK led the Industrial Revolution 2 centuries ago, we are now spearheading the Green Industrial Revolution and we are building a manufacturing base that reflects our position as a world leader in offshore wind technology.

The UK’s clean energy sector offers huge potential to international investors and as our workers build the next generation of wind turbines that help us meet our own climate change commitments, they will be producing the technology that can help countries all over the globe build for a greener future.

Tomasz Nowak, Chief Executive Officer at JDR, said:

As the energy transition gathers pace and the UK’s offshore wind sector continues to thrive, turbines are growing taller and farther from shore, calling for higher voltage subsea cables.

We’re delighted to build on our legacy as a leading provider of subsea cables to the offshore energy sector by investing in this new facility.

We’re also delighted to continue our investment in the North East of England, and in bringing new jobs to Cambois, Blyth and Northumberland. Our proposed facility is strategically located to capitalise on the rapidly growing and largest offshore renewable energy market in Europe.

RenewableUK CEO Dan McGrail said:

The offshore wind industry is leading the Prime Minister’s Green Industrial Revolution by creating high-quality skilled jobs throughout the country, especially in coastal areas which need new opportunities.

Developing our offshore wind industry is a great example of our global leadership on clean energy in the run-up to COP26 and the opportunities for a green recovery. Investments like today’s by JDR Cables demonstrate the industrial-scale economic benefits that decarbonisation is bringing to the UK and will help us to reach net zero emissions as fast as possible.

The next stage of the energy transition needs to focus on ramping up the speed and scale of renewable power deployment. Developing new approaches to planning our future grid, integrating new radar solutions and investing in new floating wind technology are essential to achieve that.

The government is also launching a consultation today on how we can minimise the impact on local communities and the environment when offshore wind farm power cables are connected ashore in the future.

Analysis by National Grid Electricity System Operator found that a new, more coordinated approach for projects connecting from 2030 could deliver cost savings of up to £3 billion with lower bills for consumers and industry. This could also significantly reduce the cumulative environmental and social impacts, such as the damage that can sometimes occur to valuable coastal and marine ecosystems, biodiversity loss and construction-related disruption to local communities, through a reduction in the infrastructure required for offshore connections.

Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said:

Our world-leading offshore wind sector is delivering clean energy for millions and opening huge opportunities for green growth, driving investment and creating thousands of high-quality jobs all over the UK.

We are committed to growing this even more as we meet our bold climate change targets and reduce our exposure to volatile fossil fuels. But we want to hear people’s views to ensure that connecting offshore wind farms doesn’t have a negative impact on communities and our precious coastal and marine environment.

The government is also announcing £3.8 million in funding from the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) to support 7 innovation projects that are developing technologies to ensure future offshore windfarms do not negatively impact on UK air defence systems.

If offshore wind turbines are positioned in the line of sight of radar, they could have a detrimental effect on the effectiveness of air defence surveillance, so this joint programme, between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), will enable the development of projects looking to ensure future turbine deployment does not interfere with the UK’s defence capabilities.

Additional funding is also being announced today for the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence, with £2 million being provided over 4 years to further accelerate innovation in the UK’s floating wind sector as part of commitments to deliver 1GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2030.


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