The North East LEP and NewcastleGateshead Initiative jointly organised a North Eastern CORE Showcase event which brought together the Ports of Blyth, Sunderland and Tyne, Narec, the National Renewable Energy Centre, and world-leading offshore energy related companies based in the North East, to promote the breadth of expertise in this sector to investors and business leaders.
The North East LEP area has been identified by central government as one of only six UK CORE (Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering) areas. CORE areas offer the best infrastructure for offshore wind manufacturing, access to a skilled workforce, supply chain and committed local leadership.
The CORE showcase event was part of a week of events to celebrate Narec’s tenth anniversary.
Senior representatives of private and public sector organisations attended the event, which included tours of key development sites, including the LEP’s North East Enterprise Zone, in the North Eastern CORE.
The first day included presentations hosted by Narec, followed by a tour and a boat trip to view the NOAH Platform, an offshore research platform, three nautical miles off the coast of Blyth. They also viewed the UK’s largest wind turbine before heading back to the Port of Blyth to visit its riverside facilities.
During the second day the group travelled to Newcastle College’s Energy Academy for presentations delivered by the college and Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science and Technology, followed by visits to both the Port of Sunderland and Port of Tyne, ending with a river cruise up the Tyne to view the waterfront development sites, hosted by Andrew Hodgson, vice chairman of the North East LEP and managing director of SMD.
Andrew Hodgson believes the North East is perfectly located for growth in the offshore renewable and subsea sectors. He said: “The North Eastern CORE area has valuable assets which set it apart from the competition. We have generous amounts of available land – for example, 250 hectares at the Port of Tyne and 115 hectares at the Port of Sunderland.
“We have £30m growth capital specifically for investment in the LEP area – probably the largest amount of its type in the UK - and we have world-leading offshore renewable and subsea companies and R&D centres such as the recently launched Neptune centre operating from the region. With active support from the North East LEP and government, a skilled local workforce and a strong supply chain, the North Eastern CORE area has a powerful package to attract international investment.”
Jen Hartley, senior inward investment manager at NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “The success of this event illustrates the collaboration of the organisations involved to put together an exciting, informative tour for potential investors, in a bid to attract more overseas investment to the region. We’re delighted that so many business and public sector guests attended and enthusiastically took part in all aspects of the busy two day event.”
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