Financial plans for offshore wind cabling factory in Blyth approved by government

A major offshore wind cable manufacturing facility planned for the Northumberland coast has taken a major step forward today, after the project developer announced it had reached a crucial financial milestone.

The project developer, JDR Cable Systems, announced this morning it had reached final agreement under the government’s Offshore Wind Manufacturing Scheme (OWMIS) that will secure financial support for the “state-of-the-art” subsea cable factory.

The milestone comes eight months after the cable manufacturer confirmed it had snapped up £130m in public and private finance for the facility, which had been guaranteed by UK Export Finance, the government’s credit agency.

The package included a grant from the government’s £160m Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme, an initiative launched last year to help establish a more robust domestic renewables supply chain.

Comfirmation of the agreement means the factory, which is due to provide components for the rapidly growing offshore wind industry, remains “on track” to open in 2024, with construction earmarked to start this summer, JDR Cable Systems said.

The company expects the facility to create 171 new high quality jobs in the area, while safeguarding a further 270 jobs at JDR’s facilities.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the investment would help grow the UK’s offshore wind sector and reduce the UK’s exposure to volatile global gas markets.

“Our offshore wind sector is a major industrial success story that delivers cheaper energy for consumers and high-quality manufacturing jobs across the UK,” he said. “Investments such as this from JDR, with government backing, are exactly the kind which our British Energy Security Strategy will attract, while reducing our exposure to volatile global gas prices.”

JDR Cable Systems said the new factory was part of an effort to expand further into the booming renewable energy market, noting that the site would see high voltage export and long length array cables added to its existing capacity and product capabilities.

The manufacturer has also confirmed plans to invest £3m in growing the capacity and product range at its existing cables production facility in Hartlepool

JDR Cable Systems chief executive officer Tomasz Nowak said: “Since our initial announcement in September last year, the UK has redoubled its commitment to net zero having hosted COP26 [Climate Summit] and reaffirmed the importance of building out the country’s renewable infrastructure and supply chain in light of the current gas and energy crises.

“Now more than ever it’s critical to push forward with the UK’s offshore energy ambitions and we are delighted to take this major step forward in delivering the new site at Blyth.”

Gerry Grimstone, UK Minister for Investment, said the plans provided further evidence of the jobs creating potential of the UK’s clean energy sector. “JDR’s investment in Blyth shows how attractive the UK’s renewable energy sector is, supporting jobs, growing the economy and levelling up the UK,” he said. “Through our ambitious Energy Security Strategy this government is helping reduce our reliance on oil and gas, and bringing more clean, green power to the nation.”

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