Humber 'truly at the heart of UK's offshore wind industry'

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 6 Nov 2017

A NEW report acknowledged by Government has described the Humber as “truly at the heart of the offshore wind industry in the UK”.

Trade body RenewableUK has issued analysis of regional activity within the burgeoning sector, including case studies on projects and businesses supporting them, underlining how the UK is reaping economic benefit.

Offshore Wind: Regenerating Regions – Investment and Innovation in the UK notes that UK-based companies already provide nearly 50 per cent of the total content of British offshore wind farms, and that we are exporting our cutting-edge technology as far afield as China, India, Taiwan and the USA and other countries.

Richard Harrington, Energy Minister, said: “Britain is leading the world in developing offshore wind at a competitive price for consumers. New offshore wind projects will cost half as much as those proposed just two years ago, thanks to our competitive auctions, and we have committed up to a further £557 million for renewable projects.

SAILING OUT: Components leave the Humber Estuary, as seen from Cleethorpes. Picture: Steve Richards.

“As this report shows, the sector is attracting investment that is helping to transform economies and communities across the country. We want to build on our successes to date and we are working with the industry as we build our Industrial Strategy.”

With Grimsby having led the way with the first offshore wind activity in the region as it served initial engineering and then moved to life-time operations and maintenance needs, Green Port Hull has added manufacturing and assembly might, feeding jack-up vessels with imported towers and nacelles, while now building blades for installation.

Able Marine Energy Park could still play a key role, with Triton Knoll - the publicly-stated potential first user - also a case study within the report, alongside Hornsea Project One. 

The report shows the Humber to be way out in front when it comes to operational, constructed and consented projects in the UK, as it heads towards an installed capacity of 8,537 MW.  Only East of England is on track to better it, if all developed out to potential, with 8,726 MW envisaged in the medium term. However, 6,500 MW is as yet unconsented, compared to 3,600 off the East Yorkshire coast. Huge Dogger Bank (North East) and Norfolk (East of England) arrays could also be contributed to from the Humber as well.

Revealed to launch Offshore Wind Week 2017, RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal, pictured below, said: “With publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy just weeks away, it’s clear that offshore wind can help to revitalise British industry. Already we see firms moving from traditional maritime and energy sector into the offshore wind industry, and increasing domestic manufacturing in the sector. 

“This industry’s investment is supporting over 600 innovative companies in regions across the UK. Over the next four years, our industry will invest £17.5bn in new projects that will help regenerate local economies as we grow our domestic supply chain. 

“With continued investment and technological advances, offshore can become the leading source of power in the UK.

 “Innovative companies in Yorkshire and The Humber are playing an important role in the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry. This report looks at the wide range of companies in places like Hull, Filey and Hessle, as well as projects operating or being built off the coast -  and plans for even bigger offshore wind farms in the future in this area.

“2017 has been a milestone year for the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry. Record-breaking cost reductions, confirmation of new power auctions, and offshore wind placed at the heart of the nation’s Clean Growth Strategy, mean that this sector is now a key part of British industry. We’re creating thousands of jobs in an industry with a vibrant supply chain and attracting billions in investment to the UK." 

Case studies for this region include Siemens Gamesa, Ørsted (formerly Dong Energy), GEV Wind Power, Rix Shipping and Specialist Marine Consultants. 

Focussing on the region, the report's author wrote: “Yorkshire and The Humber is home to a hub of regional activity which spans the whole lifecycle of an offshore wind farm. With four projects which have consent and a further two projects totalling 3.6GW yet to be developed, the area is truly at the heart of the offshore wind industry in the UK.

“The Humber has experienced a buzz of activity around offshore wind; from Siemens’ £160m investment at Alexandra Dock to the current operations and maintenance activity of existing offshore wind farms such as Ørsted’s Hornsea Project One – the world’s first offshore wind farm to exceed 1GW. The area has experienced significant investment which has revitalised the economy in the local area and resulted in a number of contract awards to UK companies doing business in offshore wind.

“The Humber is also home to Triton Knoll and Hornsea Two, both of which have successfully won contracts to provide clean electricity. Looking to the future, UK-based companies will be able to take advantage of a strong pipeline of projects, with project teams from Triton Knoll and the Hornsea Projects already engaging with supply chain to highlight the opportunities to come.” 

The UK's operational capacity currently stands at 5.36GW, with Grimsby controlling one fifth of that. There is a further 3GW under construction, 3.4GW in pre-construction and 11.7GW in development. 

Today's released findings also highlight how the North West has matured, with all now built, as future projects switch attention to the North Sea. From Mostyn in North Wales to Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, this region is the current leader for installed capacity, but spread across ports nearly 150 miles apart it is somewhat different to the Humber model focused on Grimsby for 'O&M'.  The same applies in East of England too, with ports from Wells to Harwich serving the developments there, again at more than 100 miles apart, more than three times the distance from Grimsby to Hull.

Read the full report online here: Offshore Wind: Regenerating Regions – Investment and Innovation in the UK

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