Planning approved for offshore wind factory

Another major milestone in the redevelopment of the Teesworks site has been reached with plans for GE Renewable Energy’s mammoth wind turbine blade factory officially approved.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has given the green light for the construction of the huge 76,200sq m facility, in the South Bank zone of the Teesworks site, with construction due to begin later in 2021 for a 2023 completion.

LM Wind Power will operate the facility, which will be dedicated to the production of its 107-metre-long offshore wind turbine blades. These are a key component of GE’s Haliade-X, the most powerful offshore wind turbine built today and used at Dogger Bank, the world’s largest wind farm, located just 80 miles off the North-East coast.

The facility is one of the first major schemes to come to the Teesworks site and up to 2,250 jobs will be created to support the construction of the factory. When completed the huge factory will create up to 750 direct highly skilled jobs and close to 1,500 indirect jobs to support its supply chain

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s fantastic news that this mammoth project has passed the planning hurdle and is on course to be up and running by 2023, helping to create thousands of well-paid, good-quality jobs for people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool both directly and in our brilliant supply chain businesses.

“We have been working hard to get the land ready for this exciting opportunity and now GE Renewable Energy can get the spades in the ground to make this a reality, bringing a much-needed boost to the construction sector as we recover our economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want Teesside to be as synonymous with clean energy and Net Zero as Silicon Valley is for tech and social media, and from offshore wind to hydrogen fuels of the future we’re powering ahead like no other region in the country.”

Olivier Fontan, president and CEO of LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business, said: “We are delighted to have received this important approval from the local planning authorities and are thankful for the collaboration between all parties involved, including Teesworks and the South Tees Development Corporation.

“There is still a lot of work in front of us but this an important milestone for the construction and future opening of the facility. We are proud of the contribution we will be making in rejuvenating this industrial cluster and helping it play a key role in future of renewable energy.”

Andrew Bellamy, LM Wind Power UK general manager, said: “We anticipate the vast majority of the roles in our factory to be filled by workers who will need to be trained on blade manufacturing techniques.

“These highly qualified operator roles are key to the success of the plant, and we are ready to leverage the knowledge and experience of our global LM Wind Power team.”

Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is a major step forward for a project which will be transformational for Redcar and Cleveland and the wider Teesside area. It brings with it the prospect of secure and well-paid jobs which will mean a better quality of life for many families.

“We have known for years about what the Teesworks site can bring to the region and getting the GE Renewable Energy factory up and running will make that potential into a reality. I hope this development will be a catalyst for other world-renowned companies to take advantage of the huge potential of Teesworks.”

The job opportunities on offer in the construction and operational phases of GE’s facility will be available at TeesValley.jobs over the coming months as recruitment ramps up.