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Business & Economy

Dock work commences on major offshore energy site

Enabling work on the construction of a new dock at the deep-water offshore energy base in Northumberland has gotten underway.

The development at Northumberland Energy Park is being funded by a £32 million public sector investment and is an extension of the current dock facilities. Completion of the project is expected by May 2021.

Northumberland Energy Park is part of Energy Central, a unique port-based service, investment and growth cluster for companies operating in the offshore energy and subsea markets.

Energy Central is a partnership between Advance Northumberland, Port of Blyth, Northumberland County Council and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

It offers 200 HA of quay-linked development sites.

The new dock will allow companies to benefit from direct quay access to a 50 metre x 210 metre deep water berth on the River Blyth.

Dredging work will increase the current depth and the dock will have jack up barge vessel capability.

Northumberland Energy Park (phase 1) is situated on the site once occupied by the Blyth Power Station facility, where a pair of coal-fired power station were demolished between 2001 and 2003.

Further development of the site is planned for phase 2 and phase 3.

The site provides a prime investment opportunity for large-scale advanced manufacturing and engineering companies who supply products and services to the UK’s growing offshore wind industry, which is being supported by the Government’s Offshore Wind Sector Deal.

Richard Wearmouth, chair of Advance Northumberland said: “The commencement of work on the cofferdam is a huge step forward in the development of Northumberland Energy Park – and the new dock will further enhance the vast array of facilities available at Energy Central for businesses servicing the offshore wind sector.

“With Northumberland Energy Park phase 1, we are building on Blyth’s heritage in power generation, transforming a site previously associated with the fossil fuel industry and turning it into a major asset for the renewable energy sector, while supporting the UK’s shift to clean growth.

“With its exceptional dock, transport and power infrastructure, and prime position within the thriving Energy Central cluster, Northumberland Energy Park phase 1 offers a highly attractive opportunity for investors – and will reinforce Blyth’s international standing within the offshore wind industry.”

Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, (North East LEP), added: “Offshore wind is highlighted in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan as being an area of opportunity for growth, with the potential to create more and better jobs in the region.

“Northumberland Energy Park will play a key role in exploiting this opportunity which is why we have invested more than £19 million into the phase 1 site remediation and infrastructure, which includes £4.4 million of Local Growth Fund funding.

“The new dock will further enhance the site which already benefits from Enterprise Zone status, making it a very attractive offer for investors.”