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Renewables Jobs Boost in Northern Ireland

24 Apr 11:00 by Steve Walia

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A new wind energy contract is bringing new renewable jobs to Northern Ireland.

Harland and Wolff has confirmed that it has been successful in its bid to supply wind turbine parts for a large wind farm off the German coast. As a result, 80 new skilled jobs will be created in Belfast.

It will be manufacturing the suction buckets that are used to anchor the development's turbines to the sea bed, working for ST3 Offshore, a Polish firm.

The news represents the second win for Belfast and its turbine manufacturing industry in the past few months.

Only last November, the company won a £20 million production contract from Scottishpower Renewables.

This new order will be for the Borkum Riffgrund 2 project, which is owned and operated by DONG Energy, the Danish renewables firm, and will be built next year off the German Coast.

Company director Jonathan Guest said that Harland and Wolff were delighted to have been appointed successfully as the manufacturers for the turbine parts, adding that they remained committed to retaining vital manufacturing skills in Northern Ireland.

The firm manufactured its final ship in 2003 and has turned its manufacturing capabilities and skills to projects across the renewable energy sector, including the refurbishment of oil rigs.

Renewable UK has found that British renewable firms have won contracts globally worth over £2 billion in the last year alone. It found that Britain was exporting renewable energy services and products to 43 countries across the world.

Britain has particular expertise in wind and marine energy, both of which are growing fields. The trade body wants to see the government include renewable energy in its industrial strategy to recognise its growing importance for Britain's exports and for the country's economy as a whole.