Wind farm plant brings 750 jobs to Teesside – but sparks row with Humber

A factory making parts for wind farms will create 750 jobs on Teesside – but the announcement is a blow for a development on the Humber where the plant had originally been planned..

Global pipe manufacturer SeAH Wind Ltd has confirmed that it will bring a £200-300m monopile manufacturing facility to the Teesworks site. It will create 750 direct jobs and 1,500 more in the supply chain and during construction.

Once up and running, the plant – which makes large steel tubes that form the foundations of the construction of offshore wind turbines – will be the world’s largest monopile plant for offshore wind turbines. The plant is expected to be fully operational by 2026.

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The plant will be built on land next to the wharf and heavy-lift South Bank Quay, which was recently £107m of funding from the UK Infrastructure Bank to ready it for development.

But that public backing has been criticised by the developers of the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) on the south bank of the Humber, where the SeAH plant had originally been planned.

SeAH Steel Holdings CEO and president Joosung Lee said: “When SeAH confirmed its UK investment, the aim was to contribute to the UK offshore wind industry by working with the UK Government.

“We are pleased to take the first yet significant step for this goal in Teesside. We will endeavour to make our factory globally competitive as well as become a good member of the community.”

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “2022 is our year of construction and this is another transformational project that places Teesside as the UK lead for clean, green manufacturing. SeAh is an internationally recognised manufacturing company with an incredible reputation for quality and it’s a real coup that we’ve been able to secure their investment for Teesside.

“Spades will be in the ground for this factory at the beginning of July, delivering hundreds of well-paid, good-quality construction jobs that will deliver this huge factory that will create 750 direct jobs for local people.”

Coun Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: “This is excellent news – another company with a global reputation putting its faith in Teesworks and the Teesside workforce to deliver an industry of the future and provide well-paid, quality jobs in Redcar and Cleveland.

“We have always known about the potential of the site and now it is fantastic to see that potential starting to be realised. We welcome SeAH Wind Ltd to our region and I’m sure a combination of the company’s expertise and ambition and the skills and commitment of our workforce will make this project a huge success.”

The announcement was also welcomed by Redcar MP Jacob Young, who said: “This is yet another extraordinary demonstration that Teesside sits at the very heart of the UK’s green industrial revolution. What’s happening at Teesworks is bringing new, long-term and sustainable jobs to the people of our region.”

But the jobs switch has been criticised by Able Group, a Teesside-based firm that is developing the Able Marine Energy Park. The company said it was still committed to the development, but that the loss of the SeAH plant would delay the project.

Able’s executive chairman Peter Stephenson said: “Our greatest concern, however, is that we also now find ourselves having to compete with what, in reality, is a taxpayer funded development on the Tees. Whilst recognising that AMEP has been offered grant support from Government, the reality is that this pales into insignificance compared to the levels of subsidy with which we now have to compete against.

“There is no escaping the fact that whilst AMEP is, by any measure – not least through its scale, design and location – the best product on offer, it is an expensive and complex development.

“Nonetheless, and as frustrating as the decision by SeAH may be, our collective resolve is not diminished. Whilst inevitably the project will be delayed – through ongoing collaboration with both Government and the offshore wind sector we will leave no stone unturned in seeking to deliver a world class and world scale project.”

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Graeme WhitfieldRegional business editor