UK green energy hub gets green light

Plans for a major new green energy hub based in Harwich that aims to enhance port capabilities to support offshore wind, have been given the go ahead.  

Harwich International Port was granted permission by Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Planning Committee to use the planned Bathside Bay Container Terminal (BBCT) platform as a green energy hub.

The facility will provide interim support for offshore wind activities while laying groundwork for future clean energy initiatives and container terminal projects, developer Freeport East said.

The decision will also contribute to the advancement of Freeport East, playing a significant role in establishing Bathside Bay as a key component of its development.

Councillor Ivan Henderson, TDC Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Tourism, welcomed the committee’s decision.

He said: “This decision is a hugely important step for the long-awaited development of Bathside Bay, to realise the potential of Freeport East.

“It shows Tendring District Council helping to turn Freeport East into a reality, with the potential to bring jobs and skills opportunities and raising aspirations for our residents.

“The Council is a member of the Freeport East Board and its overall commitment to Freeport East is well established, so I am delighted that the Planning Committee has approved this application, which will also make Bathside Bay part of the green energy revolution.”

Councillor Henderson said the green energy hub could also be supported by a separate new £10m innovation hub, for which a report by the University of Essex last year said Harwich would be a prime location.

The hub would bring together a cluster of businesses and organisations in a new dedicated building, helping the town to become a national leader in clean energy.

Freeport East chief executive Steve Beel said: “Bathside Bay is set to become a vital hub for green energy, particularly for offshore wind projects.

“With planning secured, it stands out as one of the only new UK port projects ready to support offshore wind development in the coming years.

“Its strategic location offers significant advantages for large-scale manufacturing and assembly of offshore wind turbines.

“Its ample quay length, water depth, and available land also make it uniquely placed to serve both UK and European offshore wind farms, contributing to a cleaner energy future.”

Hutchison Ports – which runs Harwich International Port – was given permission to reclaim land in the estuary and operate a 122-hectare container terminal facility at Bathside Bay almost 20 years ago.

Earlier this year, plans were approved for the creation of a new estuarine habitat in Little Oakley, which is designed to compensate for the impact on wildlife at Bathside Bay.

As part of the plans, creating a new sea wall and breach the existing one will create an estuarine habitat between Hamford Water and Irlam’s Beach.

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