Leading Tees businessman Bill Scott, whose Wilton Engineering firm recently won an £11m contract relating to the UK’s largest offshore wind project, believes the renewable energy sector could be a “game-changer” for Teesside industry.
Having already won the contract to deliver 20 transition pieces – each weighing 400 tonnes – for Germany-based Steelwind to be used as part of the Hornsea One wind project, Scott says his Port Clarence-based company is “well positioned” for further contract wins from the fast-growing industry in the near future.
And Scott – who has been named Teesside’s Most Inspiring Businessman by his peers in the Autumn issue of Tees Business – says further deals would be “transformational” for Teesside, creating new opportunities and hundreds of jobs for local firms.
A 100m-long, state-of-the-art preparation and coating facility is currently being built on the Wilton Engineering site, close to the Transporter Bridge, that will allow the firm to provide a dedicated facility for handling the giant structures required for offshore wind projects.
“By investing in the new facility, we are positioning ourselves for work we plan to win in the near future,” Scott told Tees Business.
The major breakthrough into the offshore wind sector has enabled Wilton to bounce back after a torrid few years following the collapse of the oil and gas sector.
“Just about everyone in the oil and gas sector was in survival mode,” said Scott. “It could have been disastrous for us – the entire business could have gone.
“I pressed the survival button and we had to let a number of people go but, after much arduous work, we’ve morphed across into offshore wind and we’re starting to bring back many of those who we had to let go.”
With huge windfarms being built about 120 miles off the Teesside coast, Scott says: “Teesside is perfectly positioned to supply the offshore wind sector. It is a huge hub for manufacturing and all aspects of engineering. The wealth of knowledge in the area is incredible.
“Everyone is looking for a sustainable business landscape for Teesside – and that’s exactly what this is.
“Barring materials not manufactured in the UK, every single order we’ve placed – amounting to millions of pounds – has gone to Teesside companies. What I’m trying to do is create a supply chain on Teesside specifically for the wind farm industry.
“We’re looking to try to place as much work as we possibly can to firms on Teesside and the wider North-East.”