£60m of UK government funding is to be provided to help overhaul the infrastructure of Britain’s ports to support the manufacture of offshore wind turbines.

Making the announcement in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry yesterday, prime minister David Cameron said: ’We need thousands of offshore turbines in the next decade, yet neither the factories nor these large port sites currently exist. And that, understandably, is putting off private investors. So we’re stepping in.’

Separate funding has been made available to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and could support potential projects in the devolved administrations too.

The funding will be delivered using the UK Grant for Business Investment scheme. The coalition government says that this will enable support to be made available more quickly than would have been possible using the offshore wind infrastructure competition proposed previously.

The news came as Siemens, GE and Gamesa outlined proposals to open manufacturing plants at coastal locations in the UK, with Gamesa also announcing that they will be opening a research and development facility at its global headquarters in London.

Together, the investments by these companies could be worth over £300m and could potentially create thousands of jobs, both at the companies and through their supply chains.

In a further boost to the sector, DECC and The Crown Estate have signed a letter of intent to support the development of port infrastructure for offshore wind. The letter states that The Crown Estate will work with interested ports and manufacturers to use its knowledge and expertise to enable it to realise the potential in its sites.