Jan 10 2011 by Kelley Price, Evening Gazette
TEESSIDE’S bid to become a manufacturing powerhouse for wind energy has been given a boost after it emerged the UK is using more green electricity than ever.
Statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for quarter three show the UK’s electricity from renewable sources is at 8.6% – the highest level yet – and wind energy is up by a massive 37% on the same time last year.
Bosses at wind and marine energy trade body RenewableUK say more than half of the UK’s renewable energy production comes from wind – and green chiefs on Teesside say the area is well equipped to claim its share of the growing market.
The industry will have to wait until March to find out whether the UK has hit its 2010 target to produce 10% of energy from renewables, according to DECC. Teesside’s potential took a big leap forward, however, when the Round Three licensing got under way in 2010, unlocking a further 33 gigawatts (GW) – enough to power every home in the UK.
Teesside firms have already been stealing a march on the renewables sector with a string of world leading projects in 2010.
CTC Marine at Darlington and JDR Cables at Hartlepool were major players in the pioneering Wave Hub, a £42m giant “sea socket” off the coast of Cornwall, built to test various tidal power prototypes for the fledgling industry.
JDR Cables also won a contract to supply a massive 200km of cabling for the first phase of the London Array development, worth £33m, in November.
CTC Marine has clinched installation and trenching work for 80 infield cables on the BARD Offshore 1 Wind Farm Project in the western North Sea for Germany-based Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke GmbH (NSW). Meanwhile, Heerema Fabrication Group, also of Hartlepool, won work to build two substation platforms for the Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the Norfolk coast. Bosses say the move would guarantee 1,000 jobs on Teesside.
“There are no technological barriers to having a third of our electricity from renewables in the next 10 years,” said Alex Murley, head of technical affairs at RenewableUK. “It is perfectly do-able.
“Wind is also set to provide not just clean electricity, but the jobs and the economic regeneration this country needs.
“Onshore, the British Isles have the best wind resource in Europe, while offshore we are world-leaders. Building on these undeniable facts could transform the UK into a regional renewable energy powerhouse.”
DECC’s results, he said, gave the industry confidence that tough and legally binding EU 2020 targets for renewables, which requires 15% of all energy in the UK to come from renewable sources, could be reached.