Council leader calls for more attention on green energy from Westminster

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 24 Mar 2017

NORTH East Lincolnshire Council leader Ray Oxby has voiced concerns that Westminster politicians “don’t recognise the importance of renewables, or the need to invest it in the future.”

The Labour politician, who also vows to “ratchet up” the profile of green energy generation as he aims to make Grimsby the industry’s UK capital, gave the interview to Utility Week, an online trade magazine for water, electricity and gas.

The article, published on Wednesday, also quotes chief executive Rob Walsh, who talks about the authority needing to sell the sector and "work in partnership to grow it”.

Cllr Oxby, who with Mr Walsh shares a passion to create a “stronger economy for a stronger community,” was banging the drum for more commitment - and a clearer unified strategy - from the corridors of power.

The next big subsidy auction is understood to open early next month, with both Triton Knoll and Hornsea Project 2 - schemes that could rapidly enhance Grimsby’s standing in the sector once again - likely to be in the bidding.

“I think we need to promote it, market the need and get some senior ministers to come down to endorse what we are looking to do, both around the renewable energy sector and around our ambitions for Grimsby, so it gains more profile and credibility,” Cllr Oxby said.

“We need to ratchet up the political profile around the energy sector and the need for sustainability,” he added. “Communities need energy.”

Centrica, Dong Energy and E.on are already operational in the port, with several major contractor firms following in their wake, from vessel operators to high voltage specialists.

Five wind farms are now operational from the port, with two more under construction.

North East Lincolnshire Council was successful in winning a £10 million Regional Growth Fund pot dedicated to South Bank green investment as part of the Growing the Humber Fund back in early 2013. 

It enabled the £1.1 million sweetener for Dong Energy to locate to the town in an £11 million initial investment, as well as lock gate investments in both Royal Dock and Portof Grimsby East, together with private backing.  

In the past four years Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Energy Secretary Ed Davey, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, now Business Secretary Greg Clark, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Energy Minister Caroline Flint have all been to the town, while Mr Clark, Energy Minister Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at BEIS Lord Prior and Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy all attended a Humber-wide Energy Estuary event in Westminster in January.

Read the full Utility Week article here

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