British steel giant plans offshore wind farm business

Steel giant Corus today unveiled plans to develop an offshore wind farm business and create 220 jobs on the site of a mothballed plant in Teesside.

Steel giant Corus today unveiled plans to develop an offshore wind farm business and create 220 jobs on the site of a mothballed plant in Teesside.

The European division of Indian steelmaker Tata has started building work on a new facility to produce steel structures to fix wind turbines to the seabed.

The new plant will be developed within Corus’ 3,000 acre site in Redcar – home of the mothballed Teesside casting products facility.

More than 1,600 jobs were lost when the steel plant was shut down in February, ending 170 years of mass steelmaking.

If Corus successfully secures enough orders for the proposed new site, it would create 220 vacancies, which the company said would be open to former employees of the Teesside cast products facility.

Chris Elliot, Corus’ director of product marketing, said: “The UK Government has approved ambitious plans to build thousands of wind turbines at sea over the next 10 years.”

He went on: “In the UK alone, we estimate that about six million tonnes of steel will be needed over the next 10 years to make the foundations and tower structures for offshore wind turbines.

“We are positioning ourselves to take full benefit of these opportunities.”

The structures – called monopiles – will be built in redeployed and re-equipped redundant buildings within the site.

A spokesman for the firm said the proposed developments would not affect continuing negotiations surrounding the mothballed Teesside facility, and the company’s search for a potential buyer.

Corus was reportedly losing £100m a month in mid-2009, but after a major restructuring is now making a profit.

Europe’s second largest steel producer, created in 1999 through the merger of British Steel and a Dutch firm, employs around 20,000 people in the UK, including at steelworks in Port Talbot and Scunthorpe.

Corus blamed the demise of its Redcar site on falling global demand, decreasing prices, and the international consortium which pulled out of a 10-year deal to buy Redcar’s plant output.

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