NW Evening Mail, Wednesday, 19 January 2011
DANISH windfarm company Dong Energy could create more than 220 permanent jobs in Barrow, it has emerged.
Speaking at a seminar in the town, Peter Sills, the company’s UK communications chief, revealed a total of 75 or 76 jobs are currently being created for the operation and maintenance phase of the new £1bn Walney Offshore Windfarm.
That is 16 more than the figure given by Dong before Christmas and significantly more than originally expected for the windfarm, which is being built nine miles offshore.
Mr Sills said most of those roles had already been recruited, including a sizable number of people from Barrow, other parts of Cumbria and North Lancashire.
Speaking after the seminar, held to encourage local companies to bid for contract work with Dong, Mr Sills admitted there could be a lot more jobs in the pipeline for Barrow, if Dong Energy decides to go ahead with the Walney 3 offshore windfarm.
The Government has given the company permission to extend its footprint in the Irish Sea. If it goes ahead, Walney 3 will be twice the size of Walney 1 and 2 combined, generating more than 750 megawatts of power.
Mr Sills said it would mean a lot more local operations and maintenance jobs if Walney 3 is constructed, although there would be some economies of scale.
The extra boost is not expected to happen until 2015 to 16, when Walney 3 would be built further out to sea with as many as 200 turbines.
The spokesman told the Tendering Masterclass, organised by Furness Enterprise at Waterside House, that Dong Energy had pumped a million pounds a month into the local economy since it moved in a year ago.
The local spend by Dong Energy in its first year in the Barrow area amounted to £12.4m.
The sum included £4m spent on staff hired locally and £6.3m spent with local contractors, £1.4m for accommodation, and £700,000 spent on local service companies.
Mr Sills said: “We are here for the long term.”
Seawind, which supplies vessels to the wind industry and is based in the south of England, has started operating in Barrow and has created 11 local jobs, Mr Sills added.