- Reasons To Invest
- Supporting Organisations
Huge offshore wind farms planned for the North Sea have placed North East England in an ideal position to manufacture large numbers of turbines for these farms.
The world’s largest offshore turbine has been created by American group Clipper Windpower through its Britannia project on the Northumberland coast at Blyth.
Clipper chose Blyth as the site for its European development centre because of the proximity in the town of the New and Renewables Centre of Excellence (Narec).
Established with the help of One North East, this centre has world-class testing facilities for wind turbine blades and electrical components. It also has R&D teams working on wind power related projects, and close links with researchers at Durham and Newcastle Universities.
Clipper has recently announced that it is to develop a turbine assembly plant at a site on the banks of the River Tyne, with backing worth £4.2 million from the UK Government.
Among the several hundred companies that could take part in the supply chain of a scaled-up wind turbine industry in the area, is Windsund International in County Durham which manufactures turbine components.
Evolving Generation (EG), a spin-off company from Durham University, is developing a generator for large, direct-drive turbines.
On a different front TNEI, which has its HQ in Newcastle, is managing a project for Tesco to install micro wind turbines at all the group’s suitable depots and supermarkets across the UK.
"We believe this is the best location to serve the needs of our clients in the UK and continental Europe.” Patrick Phelan, MD JDR Cable Systems
Areas of Expertise
Prime Central Location
The geographical locations of the Round 3 offshore wind farms put North East England in a unique central position from which companies can service over half of the farms.
Dogger Bank, the nearest and overall largest development zone, is expected to produce over a third (9GW) of the total offshore wind energy generated through this phase. Our location therefore gives close access to the largest market.
Great Riverside Sites
The region benefits from two major river systems – the Tyne and the Tees. There are also a number of deepwater ports including those in Blyth, Sunderland and Hartlepool which could be used to support or supply offshore projects.
These regions have been home to major shipbuilding and heavy engineering centres providing fabrication used in the North Sea development of oil and gas reserves. Equally important, there are available vacant and under-used quayside locations with available infrastructure already in place to help companies locate in the region quickly. The supportive planning approach for manufacturing sites and widely available support available allow companies to be market ready within a much shorter time than in other locations.
Supply Chain Links
The Government’s commitment to the offshore wind market has opened up major opportunities for local and new companies to the region.
This builds on the experience and expertise that already exist in North East England, and also the strong public and private sector relationships in place nationally and with neighbouring regions.
Companies in the region can access a comprehensive range of finance and funding options including grant, loans and equity products.
We have a strong track record of delivering capital grants for companies investing in the region, and local businesses seeking to grow and develop new markets. The Grant for Business Investment scheme, for instance, provides direct support to projects that have capital expenditure and strong job creation potential. There are also strong strategic and funding relationships with the national government and agencies, the European Investment Bank and private finance centres. For example, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are working closely with the region to support innovative projects led by number of companies here. Their Environmental Transformation Fund is now helping a company develop new manufacturing approach and another to build a facility for towers and monopile production on the Tees.
One North East is working with the Northern Way on the Northern Wind Innovation Programme which has committed to £3m of industry-led projects to stimulate innovation and technology development in the offshore wind industry in the North of England
Engineering is at the heart of the region. Many of these companies deliver on major projects time and time again – a true endorsement of the ‘can do’ culture here in the region.
Around 62,000 people are employed in the engineering sector in this region. North East engineers are well-known for working on oil and gas, and marine related projects worldwide. The Tyne still has a significant engineering workforce in shipbuilding projects even today. A significant cluster of research, design engineering, logistic and professional services companies have also built their expertise in these markets. Investments are already made in training a new generation of workforce in the new and renewable industry. For example, a new 27m offshore wind training tower is now available for training Level 3/4 wind skills technicians. This is an open access facility that will allow both regional training providers and industrial companies the opportunity to increase their skills base.
In addition, we have a workforce that is familiar and experienced with the disciplines of modern manufacturing such as lean thinking. Our strong automotive sector, with Nissan being a key investor in the region, has played a major role in developing a culture that brings out the best in advanced manufacturing. This experience of production engineering will be a vital component as companies develop capacity to deliver the significant volumes required for offshore projects. The Manufacturing Advisory Service here will be able to help companies develop and access these skills if required.
Research and Innovation
Forward-thinking businesses can benefit from world-leading research and development capabilities in universities, specialist industrial and private research centres at their doorstep here in North East England.
Narec, The New and Renewable Energy Centre, is the focus for national innovation assets for the offshore wind and marine renewables industries. Its existing and planned open access testing assets and expertise provide the full suite of component and systems testing for the offshore wind industry. In 2009, DECC announced £11.5m national investment to enhance Narec blade testing capability to allow testing of up to 100m long blades and £10m for enhancements to their wave and tidal testing .
Further plans are being developed to test the world’s largest nacelles, demonstration sites for full turbine systems offshore and to develop innovative power and networks solutions. The Welding Institute (TWI) operate an open access facility in Middlesbrough to provide their leading materials, fabrication and joining technology expertise to the offshore wind industry. Durham University leads the UK Wind Research Programme and network SUPERGEN and with Newcastle provides state-of-art laboratories and facilities such as those for testing power electronics, aerodynamics, wave and tidal and gearboxes.
Dedicated & Business Support
Business support in the region is well-integrated. Agencies, universities, sector representatives and specialist centres often work together to provide a solution for businesses looking to locate here.
One North East, as the local Regional Development Agency, is able to help make the initial introductions and facilitate financial support where appropriate. There are wind sector specialists who will be able to provide first hand advice on enquiries ranging from supply chain to availability of sites. One North East also has several years’ experience in helping companies all over the world locate in the region.
Companies located in this region are supported with several deepwater ports and a wellconnected air, rail and road infrastructure.
Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley Airports offer a total of 30 scheduled routes daily to UK and European airports. They have connections to all destinations via major hubs including London, Schiphol and Dubai. The East Coast mainline offers frequent rail connections to London and the rest of the country. Newcastle upon Tyne is less than three hours by train from London, and they depart every half an hour.
Key Facts & Figures
- The world’s largest offshore wind turbine has been developed in North East England.
- Two Centres of Excellence – Narec and CPI - are helping to successfully commercialise cutting edge renewable energy technologies.
- Narec has facilities for testing the largest wind turbine blades in the world.
- In 2009, DECC announced £11.5m national investment to enhance Narec blade testing capability to allow testing of up to 100m long blades and £10m for enhancements to their wave and tidal testing.
- A new 27m offshore wind training tower is now available for training Level 3/4 wind skills technicians.
- Around 62,000 people are employed in the engineering sector in this region. North East engineers are well-known for working on oil and gas, and marine related projects worldwide.
- One North East is working with the Northern Way on the Northern Wind Innovation Programme which has committed to £3m of industry-led projects to stimulate innovation and technology development in the offshore wind industry in the North of England.
- Dogger Bank, the nearest and overall largest development zone, is expected to produce over a third (9GW) of the total offshore wind energy generated through this phase. Our location therefore gives close access to the largest market.
Narec, North East England’s Centre of Excellence in New and Renewable Energy, is dedicated to giving organisations in this sector the support they need to transform winning ideas into commercial businesses.
The team provide specialist expertise in renewable energies, wind power, photovoltaics and sub-sea power.
Facilities on offer to investors include:
- The world's largest wind turbine blade testing facility and prototype development techniques to support wind turbine manufacturers and developers who are creating the next generation of wind turbine technology
- The UK’s only independent Photovoltaic R&D Laboratory, combining small scale manufacturing and solar cell process development
- The Clothier Laboratory site offering a full range of state-of-the-art high voltage testing services, currently being used to test leading-edge Combined Heat and Power (CHP) biofuel systems
- Cutting-edge sub-sea testing facilities, which enable the full simulation of the new generation of mobile production platforms
- Tidal and wave energy testing systems providing unparalleled facilities for the marine renewable sector
The new £2.3m Marine Design Centre in Newcastle is a cutting-edge centre of excellence for marine engineering.
It offers specialist training, seminars and networking opportunities dedicated to the specific needs of the marine sector, as well as access to the latest and most sophisticated software for designers.
It allows partner organisations to find new markets, grow market share and gain competitive advantage. It offers:
- a Common User Facility that allows partners to collaborate on-site on exciting and challenging projects
- specialist training, seminars and networking opportunities dedicated totally to the needs of the marine design sector
- market intelligence on new contracts and opportunities anywhere in the world
- access to some of the world’s most sophisticated software packages designed specifically for the marine design sector
- an open-door policy to universities and colleges allowing them to work hand in hand with the business sector, including the potential for student work placements and graduate employment
- links with other trade bodies and specialist organisations which are associated with the marine design sector
The Marine Design Centre reflects the new confidence, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in the North East of England and which is now stretching out to the rest of the world.
One North East is the Regional Development Agency (RDA) covering North East England.
Our Investment and Aftercare Team (IAT) provides a single, convenient point of contact for companies and their representatives.
The team has access to an extensive partnership network of support agencies, sector specialists, universities, colleges, local authorities, knowledge networks and business organisations throughout the region.
Team members are familiar with all issues relating to direct investment and can give help and guidance on a wide range of topics, including:
- Advice on availability and costs of sites and premises
- Guidance on the availability of financial assistance and grants
- Assistance with grant applications
- Introductions to potential supply chain customers and partners
- Information on staff recruitment and training
- Introductions to knowledge networks and technological expertise
- Identification of R&D in your sector
- Introductions to business professionals, including lawyers, accountants, property agents, business consultants and recruitment agencies
About North East England
Support for Investors
- Advice on availability & costs of premises
- Assistance with grant applications
- Identification of R&D in your sector
- Property Solutions
- Market Validation
Industry Support and Infrastructure
- Centres of Excellance & Clusters
- Innovation Connectors
- R&D Facilities
Skills and Expertise
- Overview of Skills and Experience
- Innovation Highlights
- Introduction to Our Key Sectors
- Key Funding Channels
- Selective Finance for Investment
- Grants and Funding
Premises and Locations
- Property Solutions
- Strategic Development Sites
- Managed Workspaces
- By Air
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- By Rail
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Doing Business in the UK
- Understanding Tax
- Visas and Immigration
How Can We Help?
This website is your guide to doing business in North East England and the range of inward investment support services from One North East.
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