A premier deep-water offshore energy hub located at the Port of Blyth, has assembled key players to form a steering group that will help drive forward and support further strategic investment and jobs into Northumberland.

Energy Central, situated on the East coast of the UK, provides nearly 200 hectares of development land strategically positioned with quayside access and is the location of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, with the most comprehensive open access and independent test and research facilities anywhere in the world. Over £30m of investment has been secured to ensure that Energy Central continues to offer the right operational environment for companies working within the offshore energy and subsea sectors.

Recognising the opportunity to build upon the success to date, several key partners have come together to help promote and maximise opportunities for partnership working on the established subsea hub. The newly formed group will share best practice, identify key opportunities and jointly market the capabilities internationally. The group consists of Martin Lawlor, Port of Blyth, Tony Quinn, ORE Catapult, Paul Johnson, Northumberland County Council and Richard Wearmouth and Ken Dunbar of Arch.

Energy Central has established itself as a key cluster following recent significant investment from leading players into the Port of Blyth such as Global Marine, DeepOcean and Royal IHC. Additional major inward investments such as EDF Energy Renewables’ Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Wind Farm and Statnett’s North Sea Link also provide a compelling case for opportunities available in Blyth. Whilst the former is utilising the wind farm to test cutting edge technologies, the latter will complete an electricity interconnector between Norway and the UK forming the world’s longest subsea interconnector to exchange power between the two countries.

Energy Central consists of four strategic sites with Enterprise Zone status offering financial incentives to support investment (Northumberland Energy Park, Bates Terminal & Wimbourne Quays, Dun Cow Quay and Commissioners Quay –and established sites South Harbour and Battleship Wharf). These sites, together with a number of key assets such as the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, a Port training centre and a collection of Newcastle University research facilities, make up Energy Central.

Cllr Richard Wearmouth Chair of Arch, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to share partnership working and showcase Energy Central to the market. The sites in Northumberland are ideal for offshore and energy sector businesses looking to locate and grow in an area that offers benefits including an experienced and ready-made skills base, Enterprise Zone status and investment to add a new deep-water quay.

Port of Blyth Chief Executive Martin Lawlor, said: “Bringing this group together at just the right time in Energy Central’s development will enable all partners to input effectively into one of the most important offshore energy related opportunities on the whole of the UK’s east coast. We very much look forward to working with those partners and to a bright future for the initiative.”

Situated mid-way between key off-shore centres in Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth, Energy Central is ideally located to large scale offshore energy projects such as the £12bn Dogger Bank Windfarm the Firth of Forth and Hornsea. The quayside location is also well connected by road, rail and air and the energy sector in the area is supported by an established supply chain, a skilled workforce and a pipeline of talent.

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