The Port of Hartlepool today hosted a visit by Charles Hendry, Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and used the opportunity to call for more clarity in the Government’s renewable energy policy.
The port in north-east England is part of the PD Ports Group which is one of the major companies driving Teesside’s ambition to become a centre of excellence for the UK wind energy market.
PD Ports says it is imperative that the Government has a direct, clear and positive view of the renewables sector, including Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs), funding and planning.
"There is a major reluctance to invest in this sector until the Government sets the level for ROCs which will determine what proportion of their power that UK electricity suppliers must generate from renewable sources," explains David Robinson, CEO, PD Ports Group.
"As long as the Government delays specifying the ROC level, it causes great uncertainly in the market and gives international companies no clear incentive to invest in UK facilities," he says.
Despite these restrictions, the Port of Hartlepool is already building a reputation as a centre of wind energy expertise on its 50ha site. The port hosts JDR Cable Systems, a leading cable manufacturer for renewable energy projects, and Heerema Fabrication Group, which specialises in the engineering and fabrication of large and complex structures, mainly for the offshore oil & gas and energy industry.
The Minister visited both these companies as well as Port of Hartlepool facilities. The visit was organised by Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool, who is a supporter of the initiative, called Chain Reaction, to attract companies in the renewable energy sector to establish themselves in the area, bringing much-needed investment and jobs.
During the visit, the Minister commended the collaboration and close working relationship between the port, JDR, Heerema, the local council and the local MP. He also commented on how impressed he was with the fact that a company such as JDR was able to grow from scratch to such an impressive working plant within three years at the port.