Two new offshore wind ports on Humberside and Teesside are to be built as part of a GBP95 million ($132 million) government investment program, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said late March 10.
Able Marine Energy Park on the south bank of the Humber is to receive up to GBP75 million, while Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre on the River Tees is to receive up to GBP20 million.
"Once complete, the two ports will have the capacity to support the development of up to 9 GW of energy offshore wind projects each year," BEIS said.
Construction would begin later this year to upgrade the ports with new infrastructure to house up to seven manufacturers, directly creating 3,000 jobs each, the ministry said.
In a first announcement, GE Renewable Energy is to build an offshore wind blade manufacturing factory on Teesside, creating 750 direct jobs and a further 1,500 indirect jobs in the area, BEIS said. Production at the factory is due to start in 2023.
Blades from the factory are to supply the 3.6 GW, three-phase Dogger Bank wind farm, due to be completed in 2026.
State funding is part of a GBP160 million investment to upgrade port infrastructure announced in October 2020.
The initiative would help the wind industry reach its target of 60% of offshore wind farm content coming from the UK supply chain, BEIS said.
Both Teesside and Humberside were named as freeports in the UK's annual budget on March 3. The status is designed to encourage investment through lower taxes and cheaper customs.
Hugh McNeal, CEO of sector association RenewableUK, said GE's new blade factory would transform a former steelworks site on Teesside, supply Dogger Bank, and provide exports "to fast-growing international markets, capitalising on our global lead in this technology."
GE Renewable Energy announced in September 2020 it would 190 x 13 MW Haliade-X turbines to SSE Renewables and Equinor's Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, 130 km off the coast of East Yorkshire. Each turbine blade is 107 meters long. The turbines are 248 meters tall.
GE is also to build a base at Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool to assemble turbines for installation at Dogger Bank A and B, the first two phases of the project, 95 turbines each. Turbine installation is due to start in 2023.