The Business Secretary announced a new low-carbon investment during a visit to the North East today.
Dr Cable spent time at steel producer Corus, where he announced the latest funding package worth £4.6 million from the Tees Valley Industrial Programme (TVIP) for 14 projects in the region. Of this, £1.3 million will help develop Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the North East.
The Government has already invested around £30m of the £60m allocated to TVIP. It is hoped that the investment contracted so far could result in the creation of over 1,700 full time jobs and safeguard a further 1,200 jobs. Overall the TVIP programme should see 3,000 new jobs created and sustain over 10,000 jobs in the longer term.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Continued investment in the North East is extremely important as we rebalance our regional economies, but this needs to be the right kind of support. It’s vital that any grants will garner real benefits for businesses and communities by growing local economies and skills.
“That’s why I am delighted to announce this funding, especially for Carbon Capture and Storage, which the North East is well placed to capitalise on. These projects will create a wealth of opportunities for local businesses and create new highly-skilled jobs.”
Cable welcomed the news today that Corus is extending its support for a skills and training scheme for the workers still at risk of redundancy from Teesside Cast Products. The Government has also agreed to provide £300,000 to support this further training as part of a package under TVIP to help equip employees with new skills.
After visiting Corus, Dr Cable spent time at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth where he observed the construction of the new £15m marine test rig. The facility will provide a purpose built structure that utilises the marine testing docks on the Narec site, and support research and development into marine low carbon technologies. Based around the existing dry docks, there will be no comparable open-access R&D facilities anywhere else in the world.
Dr Cable added: “It’s vital that British-based companies are supported to take advantage of new opportunities in the renewables sector and the testing facilities here at Narec are key to encouraging more investment in the UK.
“The UK has a strong presence in these markets. Clipper is building a factory in Newcastle for the manufacture of their prototype wind turbine blades, Mitsubishi is building an offshore wind R&D centre here in the UK, and there are hundreds of UK grown firms supplying, amongst other things, cables, towers, and foundations and testing marine energy devices. All of this means jobs and growth for economies throughout the country.”
Vince Cable also welcomed the news that Narec had been included in a list of four companies awarded offshore wind demonstration sites by the Crown Estate today. The project at Blyth is for a 100MW grid-connected site to test and demonstrate up to 20 next generation offshore wind turbines and associated infrastructure.
Andrew Mill, CEO of Narec, said: “Narec is the key enabler for the UK’s renewable industry. This will enable the UK to fulfil its ambitions and optimise the economic benefits from renewables.
“Our new facilities have been designed to stimulate technology inspired sector growth of an indigenous industrial base in the UK; to ensure that we are at the forefront of the global technology race for renewable energy products and services.”
During his time in the North East Dr Cable will also be meeting local business people from the Northern Business Forum and members from the North East Chambers of Commerce at Teesside University. They will discuss how the region can achieve long-term sustainable economic growth.