NEW PLANS have been revealed for a major a new multi-million pound green energy hub based in Harwich.

Harwich International Port is intending to progress with the development of a container terminal at Bathside Bay after previously being given permission to reclaim land in the estuary and operate a 122-hectare port facility.

But engineering firm RoyalHaskoningDHV has now submitted some technical questions ahead of an environmental impact assessment on behalf of the port in relation to using the site as a green energy hub for 15 years.

A report said: “As the terminal takes shape, the arrival of Freeport status for this part of East Anglia has brought a different set of opportunities.

“The UK is already well under way with an energy revolution. A huge programme of investment is planned for the development of green energy and the industries that support it both in East Anglia and around the UK.

“In the seas off Norfolk and Suffolk, significant new arrays of wind farms are planned and onshore new facilities generating and distributing green hydrogen are in the pipeline.

“With the combination of the incentives to business that comes with Freeport status and the skills in Harwich and the surrounding area, the opportunity is to make the development of Bathside Bay a part of that energy revolution.”

It added that with the UK planning a massive expansion of renewable energy, most current assessments show a serious shortage of UK port sites to meet the planned growth of renewables, both for manufacture, assembly and servicing generating capacity.

“Bathside Bay is widely acknowledged to be a large enough and versatile enough site to be able to play a major part in meeting this port demand,” it added.

“There is a need therefore to use the port platform created by the reclamation of Bathside Bay for the container port development on an interim basis to support the UK’s drive to develop its renewable energy sector.

“HPUK is therefore seeking a temporary planning permission from Tendring Council to allow this to happen, with a particular focus on the rapid expansion plans for wind energy.”

The Green Energy Hub, which would be time-limited to 15 years, will need its own change of use planning permission.

The plans were revealed as RoyalHaskoningDHV sought Tendring Council’s advice on a future environmental impact assessment.

Tendring Council said it would be inappropriate to comment on potential planning applications, however the council is a member of the Freeport East Board and its overall commitment to Freeport East is well established.

Freeport East previously said Harwich offers an ideal location for the development of a green energy hub, which it said would support large-scale manufacturing of offshore wind turbines and components, in particular, turbine towers, nacelles, monopile and jacket foundations and substations.

Hutchison Ports, which runs Harwich International Port, previously said: “There are few ports in the UK that currently have the capability to facilitate the manufacturing of floating offshore wind foundation structures, Bathside Bay will be one such port.”

Harwich International Port Ltd has been approached for comment.