NORTH East oil, gas and renewables businesses are among the first to sign up to a Government network set up to exploit the opportunities of the growing offshore wind sector.
Initially announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in April, the Norstec network was officially launched yesterday in London, by Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey.
He said: “The offshore wind industry represents a massive growth opportunity for the UK and our neighbours around the northern seas, bringing jobs and re-energising once thriving industrial heartlands on the East Coast and beyond.
“I am determined that we work closely with North Seas governments, businesses and academics to make the most of our plentiful offshore renewable resources.
“Norstec will help the offshore wind industry in the northern seas to grow and create a new industrial revolution, driving economic growth across this part of Europe.”
Members include Deep Ocean, JDR Cables, Modus Seabed Intervention, OGN Group, TAG Energy Solutions, TATA Steel and Technip from the North East’s offshore renewables group, Energi Coast.
Alex Dawson, chairman of Energi Coast, said: “This is a critical time for the industry and this new initiative demonstrates the collaborative attitude that exists in the industry to get the maximum benefit from the resource the North Sea offers.
“It has tremendous potential to deliver hundreds of gigawatts capacity for secure, clean, renewable power, which will in turn create and sustain thousands of jobs.”
Norstec will work as a collaborative organisation so that members can share information and promote the sector to the public.
Dawson is also chief executive of TAG Energy Solutions, based in Billingham, which makes offshore wind turbine monopiles, foundations and jacket structures.
He added: “Creating a cohesive and collaborative supply chain operation is an essential part of developing the opportunities in the North Sea and Norstec will help showcase the skills, innovations and experience possessed by companies in the UK who can effectively service developments in the market.” Group members include manufacturers, developers, supply- chain firms, researchers and industry bodies.
David Cameron said: “As I said when I launched this network last April we are on the cusp of a second, clean energy revolution in the North Sea. Close collaboration between industry and government will be critical to making this happen.”
Darlington-based Modus Seabed Intervention, which delivers subsea trenching, survey, inspection and construction support services, was one of the founder firms to join Norstec.
Modus managing director Jake Tompkins said: “Norstec will help send the message out across the world that the North Sea has the potential to become a major offshore renewables resource and that the UK has the ability and expertise to maximise the opportunities the area presents.
“There is no doubt that the growth of offshore renewables will be industry-led, particularly by innovative and technology-driven businesses like Modus that can meet the challenges of operating in the North Sea and, indeed, other offshore locations around the world.”
The offshore wind industry represents a massive growth opportunity for the UK