A Wind turbine parts maker has marked the official opening of its North-East factory with the promise of new contracts to support hundreds of regional jobs.
Offshore Structures (Britain) Limited (OSB) has secured a new deal to help build an Irish Sea-based wind farm.
It is also in advanced talks to support another development off the South-East coast.
Bosses at the business, based at the former Tag Energy Solutions site, in Haverton Hill, near Billingham, expect the work to fill OSB’s order book for the next 18 months, allowing the firm to push ahead with plans to employ 300 staff.
The company, a partnership between Danish steel contractor Bladt Industries and German steel firm EEW Special Pipe Constructions, is already making 16 transition pieces, which sit upon turbine monopiles and include platforms, boat landing areas and cable housing, for Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm, in Liverpool Bay.
However, at its opening ceremony today (Monday, September 14), OSB chairman Heiko Mützelburg revealed it will make 40 further transition pieces for Dong’s Walney Extension offshore wind farm, based off the Cumbrian coast.
He also confirmed it is in discussions with RWE to supply 28 transition pieces for the Galloper wind farm, in the South-East.
Mr Mützelburg said the OSB venture, which employs about 60 workers and hopes to have around 300 by the end of next year, has strong prospects.
He said: "The potential is good, but we have to perform.
"The contracts would give us a full load for the next year-and-a-half, and if they come we could see something like 300 people employed."
Benj Sykes, head of Dong Energy Wind Power UK, attended the factory opening and praised OSB, adding the company will have a crucial role to play in the future of British offshore power.
He added: "Facilities like this have huge potential as the industry grows.
"We have got a very long and fruitful relationship with the owners of OSB and the contracts cement the factory’s future and demonstrates out commitment to the UK supply chain.
"This is good news for the offshore sector, it is good news for Dong and it is good news for this region."
OSB has revitalised the ex-Tag plant since buying it last year, spending about £30m on new high-tech welding equipment and associated machinery.
Its presence in the region represents a major boost for the North-East and the offshore energy industry supply chain after Tag suffered difficulties and ceased work.
The firm delivered foundation poles for the Humber Gateway wind farm, in East Yorkshire, but its factory was mothballed when the company was put up for sale after orders thinned.
It had hoped to employ 400 workers, and was backed by £3m grants from the Department for Energy and Climate Change and regional development agency One North East.