INVOLVEMENT in the renewable energy sector has always been a focus at Port of Blyth and this will continue throughout 2012 and beyond.
The Port is expecting its busiest year for the import of onshore turbines, the erection of one of the largest onshore turbines in the UK adjacent to its East Pier, continued export of offshore wind related fabrications and all with confirmation that sites around the estuary are to be part of the newly designated North East Enterprise Zone.
These Enterprise Zone designated sites will be promoted by the NorthEast LEP together with Northumberland County Council and Port of Blyth. Totalling over 65 hectares, interest is already being generated from companies keen to join what is already a very strong renewable energy cluster around the Blyth estuary.
A busy year for importing onshore wind farms should see over 50 turbines for several manufacturers passing through terminals at South harbour and Battleship Wharf. Blyth has invested in additional laydown areas to cope with the demand and has developed an enviable reputation in the sector based on experience, expertise and working closely and flexibility with all clients.
One of the wind turbine imports will be for the start of re-powering Blyth Harbour Wind Farm on the Port's East Pier for Hainsford Energy. In May works will commence to start installing a 3.4 megawatt machine from Repower, one of the biggest and most powerful turbines installed on land in the UK.
MTL Group, an engineering fabricator who have set up at the Port's South Harbour terminal have recently exported the first piece of many through the Port, attracted by the facilities and opportunities at Blyth. The first piece (pictured) weighed over 52 tonnes and is destined for an offshore wind turbine near Norway.
Alnmaritec have now been in the Port since 2010 producing aluminium boats used in a range of activities in the renewables industry. In 2011 they moved the whole production facility to Wimbourne Quay at the Port and now employ approaching 200 staff producing in excess of 15 vessels per annum.
There is a lot of anticipation around Blyth with the announcement of Narec's (National Renewable Energy Centre) offshore demonstrator site and the development of the centre's multi million pound new onshore test facilities. The Port will work closely with Narec and their clients to make the best use of these unique facilities.
Port of Blyth chief executive Martin Lawlor added: “The Port has always been proactive and focused on the renewable energy market. Over recent years a renewables cluster has developed rapidly, reinforcing Blyth's position as one of the primary renewable energy ports in the UK.”