£50m wind turbine plan could create more than 600 jobs

MORE than 600 jobs could be brought to Wallsend if plans currently being drawn up come to fruition.

OGN Group is considering proposals to invest £50m to convert part of their site at Hadrian Yard, Wallsend, into a facility to make wind turbine foundations.

A section of the yard is currently being used to construct an oil production platform for American firm Apache, which is worth £150m and has seen around 700 workers brought to the site.

But with increasing demand for wind turbines, the company is looking to expand the services it offers.

Bosses are hoping to construct a 36,000-square metre facility for the on-site construction of jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines.

They are hoping to submit plans to North Tyneside Council next year, with work completed by 2013.

Chief technical officer Graham Kennedy said: “The bottoms line is that we’re going to be a mass production facility for these jackets, and it’s for that reason that we’re hoping to be undergoing this redevelopment.

“We’re not just chasing UK contracts, we’re going after the Dutch, Belgian and German sectors as well.

“There’s only really one yard that’s been working along these lines and that’s in Scotland, and if there’s about 600 or 700 of these to be made per year, it’s not like any one company is going to get the lot.”

He added: “We have a lot of work to do on the yard, including new foundations, building the shed and fitting it out with specialist equipment.

“This will be running 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, and will be set up with three production lines running in parallel.”

Elsewhere, OGN say they expect the oil production platform for Apache to be ready for transportation in July next year and are chasing potential contracts to replace the work.