Town in three-way fight for turbine plant

HARWICH faces competition from two other UK locations in the contest to be chosen by Spanish company Gamesa as a manufacturing base for wind turbines.

Sites on Humberside and Tyneside are also in the running to land the investment, which could result in the creation of up to 600 new jobs.

The planned factory is part of a 150million euro (�126m) programme by Gamesa to establish an offshore wind turbines business in the UK.

It is already building a research centre in Glasgow, and plans to build a manufacturing plant in Dundee subject to securing a supply contract in Scotland.

With Harwich located conveniently for current and future off-shore wind power installations in the North Sea it could be a prime candidate for the Gamesa’s proposed factory in England.

However, its location within the East of England region could count against it, with Government policy on funding likely to favour locations in the north where the economic need for investment is perceived to be greater.

David Ralph, chief executive of the Haven Gateway Partnership, said: “Securing manufacturing jobs in connection with the delivery of low carbon energy is central to the Haven Gateway’s economic strategy. The Haven Ports have a significant locational competitive advantage, illustrated by the amount of renewables already being delivered from our ports.”

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However, he added: “It is not clear what money may be on the table from the Government and long-term government support for offshore wind is crucial, both to the location of any factory and to Gamesa’s establishing its offshore business in the UK, rather than elsewhere in Europe.”

Gamesa is expected to make its decision by June.