26 June 2011
Press release 2011/087_NE
The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP will today put the spotlight on the economic benefits to Britain of investing in green energy in the North East.
This financial year renewable energy developers have announced plans in the North East for £50m investment, with the potential to create over 1413 jobs, as the region begins to realise its huge economic potential and produce clean, home grown energy.
Speaking at an annual conference of the renewables industry, The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP will today hail renewable energy sources like wind, wave and biomass as already delivering a “third industrial revolution” across the UK.
Huhne will cite progress in the last six months, where industry has announced plans to invest £1.7bn and create over 9,000 jobs “from the Western Isles to the Isle of Wight”.
The Energy Secretary will say:
“Renewable energy technologies will deliver a third industrial revolution. Its impact will be every bit as profound as the first two.
“The revolution has already begun, from the Western Isles to the Isle of Wight. Across the length and breadth of Britain, new companies are creating new jobs and delivering the technologies that will power our future.
“At a time when closures and cuts dominate the news cycle, next-generation industries are providing jobs and sinking capital into Britain.
“I want to take aim at the curmudgeons and faultfinders who hold forth on the impossibility of renewables. The climate sceptics and armchair engineers who are selling Britain’s ingenuity short.
“Yes, climate change is a manmade disaster. Yes, the UK is only 2% of global carbon emissions. But if we grasp the opportunity now our businesses and economy can be much more than 2% of the solution.
“We are not going to save our economy by turning our back on renewable energy.
“It is this three party consensus that makes the UK such a good place to invest.
“So I can today assure you that this government has resolved that we will be the largest market in Europe for offshore wind.”
The North East has great potential to benefit from the growth in green energy with several major renewables projects announced in the last six months including:
- TAG Energy Solutions: Billingham offshore wind turbine foundation factory. Up to 400 jobs. Secured first contract from Wilton Engineering Group.
- Visser and Smit Marine Contracting Ltd, Darlington (largest installer of high voltage electrical cabling for offshore wind farms in Europe): recruiting for 10 staff and taken on three apprentices full time
- Air Products, : 49MW biomass plant. Up to 750 jobs
- Rio Tinto Alcan, Berwick-upon-Tweed: planned biomass conversion. £50m investment. Up to 250 jobs and safeguard 630 jobs.
Notes for editors
- The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP’s speech to Renewables UK annual conference
- The Government published its Renewable Energy Roadmap in July, setting out a clear commitment to renewable energy to 2020 and beyond.
- Last week the Government launched a consultation on support levels for renewable electricity technologies under the Renewables Obligation from 2013-17.