LONDON — The U.K. approved a 450-million pound ($736 million) project to build manufacturing and port facilities for the offshore wind industry in northeast England, expanding the country’s drive to develop the technology.
Able U.K. Ltd. was given the go-ahead for the project after satisfying a government request for more detail on how it will accommodate for seabirds and a railway line affected by the plan, the Department of Transport said today in an e-mailed statement. Parliament must now consider compulsory purchase powers to acquire some of the land needed, it said.
Britain has more installed offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined, and ministers have identified the technology as key to U.K. efforts to slash carbon and boost renewables. Deployment of 10 gigawatts, almost triple current installations, is possible by 2020, according to the government, which has shied away from setting an official goal.
The approval is “testament to a continuing sense of long- term confidence in the offshore wind sector, which is at the very heart of our green energy future,” Maf Smith, deputy chief executive officer of the RenewableUK lobby group said in a statement. “Offshore wind, and the supply chain it is building, could create tens of thousands of green-collar jobs to coastline communities in areas where they’re needed most.”
The project on the banks of the Humber River in northeast England includes about 1,300 meters (4,300 feet) of deep-water docks and 906 acres (367 hectares) of land for offices and factories, according to its website. Able says the project may create 4,000 jobs.
It’s designed to be used by offshore wind project developers that need to deploy large components such as foundations and wind turbine towers and nacelles to their sites at sea. The intention is for the first dock to be available for use in 2016.
“It provides the opportunity, not available at any other U.K. location, to create a critical mass of activity,” Able Executive Chairman Peter Stephenson said today in a statement. “The Humber is ideally placed in close proximity to the world’s largest proposed offshore wind farms.”
Able Marine Energy Park on Dec. 9 signed a memorandum of understanding with Strabag SE’s Stuttgart, Germany-based offshore wind unit identifying it as the company’s preferred location to build a factory for the mass production of foundations for offshore wind turbines, with the potential to create up to 500 jobs.
Copyright 2013 Bloomberg
Lead image: Offshore wind via Shutterstock