Energi Coast, the North East of England’s Renewables Group, has appointed experienced offshore wind industry professional James Ritchie as its new Chairman.

James, who is Chief Executive of Newton Aycliffe-based Tekmar Energy, which is highly active in the offshore renewables sector having delivered its subsea cable protection systems to more than 40 offshore wind farm projects.

As Chairman of Energi Coast James will help the group highlight the capabilities and experience of the North East’s cluster of innovative and collaborative offshore renewables supply chain companies.

Founded in 2011 by NOF Energy, business development organisation for the oil, gas, power and offshore renewables sectors, Energi Coast is made up of a steering group of 20 companies active in the UK and international offshore wind markets.

The companies are involved in a cross section of operations and services for the offshore wind industry ranging from design and analysis to turbine component fabrication and subsea operations.

James Ritchie said: “I am proud to become Chairman of Energi Coast, which represents one of the most vibrant industry clusters in the North East of England.

“The region contains an eclectic mix of experienced supply chain businesses and a great deal of talent and expertise. It’s a fantastic region to invest in due to its location, skills, entrepreneurial and engineering heritage.

“It’s very innovative, but most importantly it is very passionate and this is a perfect recipe for the growing demands of the offshore wind industry.”

He added: “The North East can deliver every element for building an offshore wind farm, ranging from foundations, design, cables and cable laying. We have the best port facilities, the best engineers and an extensive track record to back it up.

“Since creating the first offshore wind farm off the coast of Blyth in 2000, the North East supply chain has evolved through the development of innovative and efficient products and services, which have been applied to multiple UK and international wind farms and are well-placed to serve upcoming projects including the significant Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farms and Sofia off the North East of England Coast.”

Joanne Leng MBE, Deputy Chief Executive of NOF Energy and Deputy Chair of Energi Coast, said: “James’ reputation in the offshore renewables sector and his positive advocacy for the North East’s capabilities made him the perfect candidate for Chairman of Energi Coast.

“He has extensive experience within the industry and is furthermore passionate about promoting the region as a global leader in supporting the growing offshore renewables sector.”