Page last updated at 20:49 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Ministers pledge 18.5m for offshore wind energy site

Offshore wind farm
Firms will be able to test offshore prototype turbines

More than £18m of government cash has been pledged for the development of an offshore wind energy testing site off the Northumberland coast.

The grant will help built 20 "pod" structures off the New and Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth.

Firms and researchers will be able to use the site to test prototype turbines and their foundations.

Regional development agency One North East last week announced £10m towards a new onshore facility at Blyth.

Andy Williamson, Narec director for business development, said: "This is wonderful news for Narec, the region and for the engineering supply chain here in the North East.

Mitsubishi deal

"This is a facility which will be an extension to the onshore component test capability that we have."

Business secretary Lord Mandelson announced the grant together with news that Mitsubishi intends to invest £100m in an offshore wind turbine project in the UK.

Mitsubishi Chief Executive Akio Fukui said the firm was looking at a number of locations in the UK where a factory will be built for the research to be carried out.

He said a prototype turbine would be built within three years and the first full-scale production would start after four years.

The government is supporting the development with grants of up to £30m and has signed a deal with Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Ltd (MPSE).

Up to 200 skilled jobs would be created over the next few years, which Business Secretary Lord Mandelson believes could grow to 1,500.



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