PD Ports is one of the major companies driving Teesside's ambition to become a centre of excellence for the European wind energy market.
In June, PD Ports hosted a visit at the Port of Hartlepool by Charles Hendry, Minister of State for the Department for Energy and Climate change.
The visit was used as a chance to highlight the opportunities available within the burgeoning renewable sector, while also voicing the need for more clarity in the Government’s renewable energy policy.
PD Ports says it is imperative that the Government has a direct, clear and positive view of the renewable sector, including Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCS), funding and planning.
“There is a major reluctance to invest in this sector until the Government sets the level for ROCS which will determine what proportion of their power that UK electricity suppliers must generate from renewable sources,” explains David Robinson, PD Ports’ group chief executive.
“As long as the Government delays specifying the ROC level, it causes great uncertainty in the market and gives international companies no clear incentive to invest in the UK facilities,” adds David.
Despite these restrictions, the Port of Hartlepool is already building a reputation as a centre of wind energy expertise on its 50ha site.
The port hosts JDR Cable Systems, a leading cable manufacturer for renewable energy projects, and Heerema Fabrication Group, which specialises in the engineering and fabrication of large and complex structures, mainly for the offshore oil and gas sectors.
The visit was organised by Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool, who is a supporter of the initiative, called Chain Reaction, which was launched by PD Ports in 2009 to attract companies in the renewable energy sector to establish themselves in the area, bringing much-needed investment and jobs.
Earlier in the year, Iain Wright spoke of the Chain Reaction Group, saying: “Offshore wind energy generation aims to deliver a quarter of the UK electricity needs by 2020.
“I think this industry will provide the main source of employment and prosperity for Teesside, and Hartlepool in particular, for the next 50 years, but we have to grasp the challenges and opportunities now.
“We can only achieve this goal through collaboration with private industry and public bodies and I therefore welcome the economic benefits and potential for new jobs that the Chain Reaction cluster could bring to our area.”
Paul Barker, development director, bulks and ports at PD Ports, commented: “Chain Reaction is an important collective voice, with members acknowledging that we need to work together to make our goal a reality.
“Teesside has the ideal skills, infrastructure and heritage to make this a success, as well as a deep sea port so critical to the huge-scale engineering required for the offshore wind developments.”
In August, PD Ports’ plans to develop a centre of excellence in the renewable energy sector at Hartlepool received a welcomed boost as the Government announced the creation of Tees Valley Enterprise Zones.
Hartlepool is one of two sites for which PD Ports can apply to receive financial assistance for capital investments made by March 2015. This is a very important step in creating real, long-term investment and growth opportunities in the region, not to mention much-needed jobs.
Most recently, PD Ports has announced its application for regional growth funding has been accepted.
The port operator will now need to go through a due diligence process to receive the funding to upgrade the port of Hartlepool in order to increase the prospect of attracting a major manufacturer in the offshore energy sector.
With the renewable energy requirements growing significantly in the UK, PD Ports is committed to ensuring it delivers a first-class ports and logistics service in the renewable energy sector.