Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Well-Placed for Offshore Jobs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Well-Placed for Offshore Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Court and Alan Waggott

AS Government targets in the UK, EU and beyond call for ever-higher percentages of renewable energy to help mitigate the effects of climate change, energy-generation technology is moving offshore.

This is to capture the higher concentrations of energy that are available in the marine environment.

The UK Government has set a target of generating 20% of the total electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and has instigated three rounds of offshore wind-farm development to help achieve this target.

The development and installation of offshore wind turbines around the UK is a market predicted to be worth up to pounds 40bn by 2020.

The opportunity presented by the offshore wind market is one of the biggest economic development opportunities in the UK. It is estimated by central government that 22,500 new manufacturing jobs will be created in this sector alone and many of these could be in the North East.

The region has significant advantages over the rest of the UK as it has significant offshore and heavy engineering experience from the marine and oil and gas sectors.

It already has the beginnings of an offshore renewable industry with recent success in attracting major players in the offshore wind sector. It is ideally located, with industrial infrastructure on the banks of the region's major rivers such as the Blyth, Tyne, Wear and Tees, to support the main round-three offshore sites located in the North Sea.

A key contributor and enabler in this sector is NaREC (the New and Renewable Energy Centre based in Blyth, Northumberland). NaREC provides technology support to both emerging renewable companies and more established industry partners, by providing access to world-class testing facilities, along with experienced specialists and engineering support.

To further enhance the region's claim to be the centre of excellence for R&D, testing, design and manufacture of these massive, complex offshore wind turbines, NaREC is about to embark on a project to build the world's largest drive train test facility. …

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