The North East leads the way in offshore wind energy across the UK and the world

The North East has led the way in offshore wind energy - both across the UK, and the world.

Offshore wind energy has long been considered one of the most crucial components of our green future - harnessing electricity from giant turbines at sea.

In 2000 the UK's first wind farm was installed at Blyth - it had the largest offshore turbines erected in the world at the time.

The port - and surrounding area - has developed into an offshore energy hub, and it's still growing.

Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive of Port of Blyth, said: 'Those two turbines were the first in the UK and genuinely the catalyst for the offshore wind sector we see today.

"A lot of lessons were learnt from it, they were also the first to be decommissioned here at Blyth as as well. Very quickly we started to see companies wanting to be part of it.

"The Government has committed to it now, of course. And it's just grown from there."

Catapult is a research centre for building, developing, testing and training. It works with local companies and industry giants.

Tony Quinn, Chair of Energi Coast, said: "We were levelling up in Blyth before levelling up was even a term.

"To carry out world-class research in what has been a socially and economically deprived area is absolutely phenomenal. And most of our staff come from a 30 miles radius."

Aryan Moody from Newcastle put his PhD studies on hold to work here - and was able to stay local.

The Blade test engineer said: "I always wanted to end up in wind energy and this opportunity and the investment being put into this region is really helping with that."

It is not just Blyth that has links to offshore wind, but many other parts of the North East too.

Along the North East shoreline are similar hubs with major links to offshore wind, including at Tyneside, Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

These ports, companies and supply chain businesses are part of a network called the Energi Coast.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is located over 130 km off the North East coast of England.

Once built - it will be the world's largest offshore wind farm.

One spin of the Haliade-X can generate enough electricity to power a UK household for more than two days.

When complete in 2026, 277 giant turbines will be able to power six million UK homes each year.

That is around 5% of the UK’s electricity demand.

  • Rachel Lawrence, Dogger Bank Wind Farm

Ms Lawrence said: "What's really special about Dogger Bank Wind Farm is it gives us a glimpse into the future of the industry - a future where wind farms are bigger, more efficient and more innovative, and we're using skills and expertise in the North East to make that happen."

As this is a fast-moving industry, there are calls in Blyth for the country's leaders to keep matching North East ambition.

Tony Quinn added: "Government has a really important role to play in providing the right infrastructure and the right business environment.

"But also most importantly research infrastructure to allow us to see the technological challenges which need to be overcome, and by doing that we really anchor long term value into the UK."