£400m shipyard election pledge by Lib Dems.
Sunderland's port could access a pledged £400m pot aimed at creating jobs, the Lib Dems have confirmed.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was in the North East to announce his party's new policy for upgrading disused shipyards and improving port facilities to serve the off-shore windfarms.
The party's pledge is the latest push to put the region in prime position to build, maintain
and decommission clusters of wind turbines.
Mr Clegg also promised £100m investment in training and testing facilities for the industry at universities such as Durham.
But Labour's Julie Elliott said similar work was already under way and the Conservatives have accused the Lib Dems of electioneering without explaining how they would fund the policy.
Mr Clegg said: "Just imagine the docks and shipyards in the North East coming to life and leading the world in this new technology.
"Investing in infrastructure for a new green economy not only helps create jobs now, but will allow the North East to take its place at the cutting edge of this growing industrial sector for the future."
Sunderland City Council is already looking at how the city could play a part in off-shore wind farms by becoming a service hub and perhaps building turbine components.
Land at the Port of Sunderland has been identified for the purpose, but the city has few shipyard sites left which could be used to provide extra land ? even with funding such as that promised by the Lib Dems.
Ms Elliott, Labour's candidate for Sunderland Central, said the Wear did not have the necessary deep water quays and other facilities needed for the off-shore windfarm industry.
But she said there were suitable sites at the Tyne, and skilled workers from across the North East ? including Sunderland ? would be needed to work there. She said there could also be "spin-off" roles for Sunderland.
"I'm confused as to why the Lib Dems have made this announcement as it seems everything they are looking for is already happening," she said.
Ms Elliott said she had "lived and breathed" the issue for three years in her GMB union role, working with One NorthEast and companies to bring jobs in renewable energy to the region.
Such jobs are seen as important because they require similar skills to those of shipyard workers.
She said One NorthEast ? which the Tories plan to scrap if they win the election ? was the driving force behind bringing such green industry jobs to the region.
Sunderland Tory leader Lee Martin and general election candidate has long been pushing to create more jobs at the Port of Sunderland.
He called for a halt on plans to build houes at Galley's Gill and Sunderland arc's Groves regeneration site.
"I'm all for building more houses in Sunderland: family houses, affordable houses, but not by the riverside which could be used to provide the jobs that the city needs," he said.