The North East’s integrated supply chain that makes use of local skills and innovative technologies has produced a world leading offshore wind energy sector in the region, and Alex Cunningham is keen to highlight funding opportunities worth hundreds of thousands of pounds that are available to help more local companies to benefit from involvement in the sector.
Firms across the Tees Valley, including TAG Energy in Stockton and JDR Cables in Hartlepool, have already benefited from their involvement in the offshore wind sector and, as investment in offshore wind increases, so too will opportunities for supply chain companies in Teesside.
Stockton North’s Labour MP recently met with RenewableUK to discuss further the potential opportunities that offshore wind energy can provide to Teesside and the GROW:OffshoreWind service set up to make sure English manufacturers are in a position to take advantage of these opportunities.
GROW:OffshoreWind offers businesses direct access to market experts, technological know-how and funding support. Almost 600 companies nationally have been assisted in the last year, and there is the potential to support many more with the recently announced opening of two fast-track funding calls worth a combined £4.5 million and providing up to £500,000 per project.
“In the coming decades, all countries will have to generate more energy from renewable sources and wind power will be an important element of our future energy mix. The offshore wind sector already contributes significantly to the North East’s economy, bringing vital training, investment and well-paid, highly skilled jobs to the region and, as investment in the sector rises, more and more opportunities will emerge for supply chain companies.
“With the North East having the capacity and the skills to facilitate growth, further offshore projects such as that at Dogger Bank represent a real chance for local firms. I am therefore encouraging manufacturing companies across the Tees Valley to bid for the available financial assistance to ensure local firms are able to grasp a significant share of these opportunities.
“While the deadline for Expression of Interest applications to be submitted is 15 October 2014, I am assured that the initial application process can be turned around very quickly and urge potential applicants not be put off by this tight deadline, and to speak to GROW’s regional adviser for assistance if necessary.”