Humber Renewables Awards 2019: Celebrating the great in the green!

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 20 Feb 2019

POTENTIAL has become a renewables reality, and we’re ready and recharged once again to crown those who continue to invigorate the Energy Estuary.

The Humber Renewables Awards is returning for an eighth year, recognising success across nine categories as the region gears up to take a world-leading role in offshore wind.

Just this past week first power has been generated by Hornsea One offshore wind farm, with the first of 174 turbines immediately put to work by the Grimsby-based team, days after components sailed out of Hull.

Orsted and Siemens Gamesa’s latest pan-Humber achievement will eclipse not only every other project out of the river, but those operating in any water, anywhere in the world.

It will become the biggest ever built, capable of powering more than one million homes.

By the time the Humber Renewables Awards 2019 event takes place on Thursday, June 13, installation will be half-way through, and the global record will be on our horizon - only to be broken by big sister Hornsea Two, following hot on the heels.

They are more than double the size of last year’s star of the celebration, Race Bank, which as the first true Humber collaboration was named Best Renewable Project or Installation in the Xceco-sponsored category. The shift in scale really does show the pace of development.

Now supporting thousands of jobs and attracting major investment, it is no surprise the Humber’s renewables sector has attracted envious glances from across the globe.  From an early venture by Centrica and Siemens out of Grimsby, through to a £300 million offshore wind facility development, few could have imagined the wheels – or blades – that would be set in motion. 

Ten years on from the first power controlled from Grimsby, and five years on from Siemens Gamesa's commitment to the Hull, the region’s renewables sector continues to make headlines on an almost daily basis.

Siemens Gamesa is making more than 100 turbine blades for the East Anglia ONE wind farm

As we launch the 2019 Humber Renewables Awards, celebrating the best of green business on both banks of the River Humber, now is a good time to look back on some of the biggest moments of the last 12 months.

Hornsea is timely, as years of development comes to the fore and the countdown to taking the world's largest wind farm title ticks on. 

Orsted is also progressing Race Bank Extension too, an additional farm for the cluster, unveiled recently.

Enthusiasm has also greeted Innogy, a new operator in offshore wind for the Humber, as Triton Knoll offshore wind farm entered early stage onshore construction, while committing to Grimsby for operations and maintenance as well as construction completion.

It also brings the huge potential of Sofia, a 1.2GW wind farm off the North Yorkshire coast, with the Humber offering a similar sailing time to North East ports. 

The £3.9m Ergo centre in Hessle, a green energy hub for businesses large and small, was unveiled during Humber Business Week in June.

Ground has also been broken on the new £12m Aura Innovation Centre, a stone’s throw away from neighbouring Ergo, which will provide a space for green businesses to innovate, collaborate and inspire.

Read more: World's biggest wind farm generates first power off the Humber

These are just some of the headlines. When you also consider Siemens Gamesa making its first 75m blade for the East Anglia ONE wind farm, Hull’s £200m Energy Works entering its final stages of development, and the 'small' matter of carbon capture technology returning to the region, it is little wonder the Humber has so regularly made the news.

No surprise also then, that delegates from as far away as China and the USA have in the last year visited the region, keen to learn and be inspired by the region's renewables credentials.

With accolades up for grabs for educators, builders and innovators, Humber Renewables Awards promises to reward the best of the best in the region.

The event is again being headline sponsored by Siemens Gamesa.

Read more: East Yorkshire port now running from solar power after £1m project

Ralph Sperrazza, factory director at Siemens Gamesa in Hull, said: “Siemens Gamesa is delighted to support the Humber Renewables Awards, in particular sponsoring the Renewables Champion Award.

"The reasons are clear – the Humber region has championed an entire industry new to the UK and turned it into a world-leader in just a few short years."

Siemens Gamesa said the region had "had world-renowned industries in the past, but the renewables sector makes this time different."

Watch: The Queen visits Siemens Gamesa's blade factory in Hull

"In times of uncertainty, renewables offer certainty; the UK has more demand for energy than it alone can supply, and the World needs urgent decarbonisation to meet targets set to combat global warming.

"What is good for the planet, is good for the local economy. Since the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hull factory in January 2015, the renewables industry has followed the path that Siemens Gamesa helped pave and headed for the Humber.

"In those four years, almost all major industry players have set up in and around Hull, bringing smaller supply chain companies, and innovative start-up businesses with them," the business said.

"From a start-up to manufacturing turbine blades for what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, and on to produce even bigger blades for the next generation of turbine, Hull has been a catalyst for revolution in the sector.

Read more: Siemens Gamesa makes first 75m blade for huge East Anglia wind farm

"So it is fitting that the company that helped put renewables on the map in the Humber region should take the lead as headline sponsor of the Humber Renewables Awards, to celebrate the enormous change that the dynamic sector has brought to the region and look forward to a bright future," Siemens Gamesa said.

Mike Pennington, regional revenue director at Reach Plc, also highlighted the importance of the Humber in Britain’s drive towards greener energy.

He said: “When these awarded started, the idea we could be a world leader in green energy was no more than a pipe dream.

“But in the last 12 months, the Humber has cemented its place as not only a nationwide leader, but as the envy of the world when talking about offshore wind and renewable energy.

Mike Pennington, regional revenue director at Reach Plc

“Since the last Renewables Awards, we have seen delegate visits from China and the USA, with some of the world’s biggest businesses eager to learn from the Humber’s success.

“The world’s largest wind farm, Hornsea Project One, also recently generated its first clean electricity – giving us a glimpse into the future of the region’s renewables sector.

“Our success is due to the efforts of many dedicated businesses, large and small, and we’re looking forward to giving them some well-deserved recognition.”

Read more: Renewable energy conference celebrates region's top 'green' businesses

The growth of the Humber’s renewables sector has so far been unprecedented.  But the journey is far from over.

A report compiled by the Institute for Public Policy Research revealed more than 40,000 new green jobs could be created in the North of England by 2030.

Power at Hornsea Project One may have been generated for the first time, but there is still the small matter of Project Two, Three and Four to follow.   

Further rounds now being progressed by The Crown Estate also favour the Humber. 

Siemens Gamesa is at the forefront of the renewables sector in the Humber

The potential of offshore wind is enormous. By 2020, the industry has the potential to generate up to 26GW of energy.

By 2030, the figure could be as high as 40GW.

The Government has set an ambitious target of cutting the country’s emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

The Humber region is already at the very heart of this ambition, and will doubtless continue to make headlines in the years and decades to come.

These are the awards up for grabs this year:

1) Humber Renewables Small Business of the Year (under 50 employees)

McAusland Turner Ltd won Small Business of the Year in 2018

This category is open to firms with up to 50 staff and will recognise those which have spotted an opportunity in the renewables market.

The winner will be able to demonstrate fast growth, a healthy profit and a solid plan for the future.

It could be a company set up solely to work in green energy or a traditional business which has branched out. One of the reasons Siemens decided to invest in Hull was the great green infrastructure the Humber already has.

From small-scale manufacturing to maintenance of turbines or services, there are so many ways to take advantage of the energy revolution.

2) Best Renewable Energy Project or Installation in the Humber Area

Category sponsor: XceCo

Orsted's Race Bank won this category last year

This prize is for the designers and manufacturers behind the best green energy installations. Judges will be looking for a winning project that produces clean power, is built to the highest of standards and shows off the region’s world-class expertise.

The category is open to schemes of any scale, from multi-million pound developments to micro-generation programmes.

It could be won by a firm focused on renewables or a company, public sector organisation or educational establishment which has done its bit to reduce our carbon footprint.

Schools, colleges or stately homes with the latest green heating and energy technology are welcome to apply.

3) Excellence in Renewable Skills and Training

Modal Training collecting its award in 2018

Multi-national green energy companies may have their eyes on the region but success in bringing them here means nothing if they cannot find qualified East Yorkshire employees.

Getting the training right for any potential workforce is vital and this award will celebrate those organisations which have done most to create a much-needed skills base.

The category is open to employers, specialist centres and education providers. They must have established a training programme, apprenticeship scheme, degree or other activity which is meeting the needs of individuals and the industry.

4) Renewables Education

Category sponsor: Hull College

 Sarah Pashley and Nikki Feetham of Ron Dearing UTC, the 2018 winner

This category will reward the educators who have done most to promote the value of clean power.

It could be as part of an energy qualification or learning programme run by a university of college, or a one-off project at a primary or secondary school.

Nominations will be able to demonstrate what the aims of the education project were, how they were achieved and any feedback from students.

Submissions may also include details of whether, and how, the project was supported by representatives of the renewables industry.

5) Green Innovation

2018 winner MyEnergi.

Green energy’s ability to compete with fossil fuels has been brought about by bringing down costs – and that is where this award comes in.

It will reward firms of any size which go out of their way to be more efficient and are not afraid to come up with unusual approaches.

Judges will be looking to see how innovation has made a real difference to their work. That could be developing a different business model, refining existing technology to make it leaner and more effective or coming up with a brand new way of generating power.

This award is not just open to energy firms, though. Companies which recycle oil or waste are also welcome to apply, as are businesses in other sectors which have thought up inventive methods of reducing their carbon footprint.

6) Humber Renewables Medium / Large Business of the Year (over 50 employees)

Singleton Birch won Large Business of the Year

Running a major company is tough in any field but an emerging sector like renewable energy is even harder than most.

Business have to be instantly adaptable, on top of the latest technology and ready to make the most of opportunities offered by the Government’s green agenda. This award’s winner will be a regional firm with at least 50 employees and bold ambitions to become even bigger.

It could be looking to capitalise on investment through opportunities on land or at sea, or working in a totally different field.

Successful large and medium companies are vital for providing the infrastructure needed. Judges will be looking at past financial performance and recruitment in the past year.

7) Engaging the Community / Community project

Category sponsor: Spencer Group

Karen Shepherd and Ian Rook from HOTA receiving their award

This category will recognise a renewable energy project that has the community at its heart.

This could either be through raising public awareness of renewable energy needs or involving a local community in a renewables industry project.

Or this could be a renewables project driven by a local community or organisation. This could range from solar panels on a community hall or industrial space taken over with a renewable installation.

8) Women in Manufacturing and Engineering

ABP's Sarah West, left, collecting her award.

This award aims to recognise and celebrate professional women working in the energy sector who go above and beyond business-as-usual.

This may be someone who has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership, have contributed significantly to the expansion and improvement of the power sector or it could be a young role model who is destined to shape the future of renewable energy.

Alternatively, the entry could be a project or team working to the improvement of the renewables sector.

9) Humber Renewables Champion

Category sponsor: Siemens Gamesa

Spencer Group was named as Humber Renewables Champion in 2018.

The winner of this award will have a passionate focus on promoting the renewables industry. It could be an individual, public sector body or company – the key is a real focus on making the Humber the energy estuary.

They will have tirelessly campaigned to promote green power. A worthy winner would be anyone who has helped attract new investment, encouraged the Government to support the region’s ambitions or paved the way for more jobs.

With so many big energy firms based abroad, it could also be an organisation or person who has done their bit to ensure our reputation stretches beyond the UK’s shores.

Judges will be looking for candidates whose aim was not just to further their own business but create opportunities for everyone. This is a special award, and no nominations will be accepted. Judges will pick a winner they feel is most deserving.

How to enter: To enter the 2019 Humber Renewables Awards, click here. Nominations close on May 10, 2019.

If you have any queries about the entry process, or would like to find out about sponsorship opportunities, please email Jane Smallwood at

Grimsby's Xceco is back as one of several sponsors already on board. A company formed to bring offshore wind operator experience to an increasingly attractive industry for investors, it is anchored in Port of Grimsby East, having taken over the management of Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms when sold by Centrica in 2016.

Tony Lyon, managing director, said: “We were the first in Grimsby from an operations perspective and we want to continue to support the area. This is our second year sponsoring the Humber Renewables Awards, and we feel it is important to ensure recognition is there for the fine work that is being carried out in our region.”

Another is Spencer Group. One of the largest privately-owned multi-disciplinary engineering businesses, and operational on both banks, it has supported the Engaging the Community / Community Project accolade since the awards were launched in 2012. It has enabled a series of companies, organisations and projects to be recognised for their exceptional green credentials.

Last year, Spencer Group was also named as Humber Renewables Champion, in recognition of the company’s high-profile projects in the green energy sector and the leading role it plays in developing a skilled future workforce and encouraging women into the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Managing director Gary Thornton said: “We’ve supported the Humber Renewables Awards since their inception and it’s been so exciting and rewarding to see how they have supported the development of the region as a leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Critical to that growth has been gaining widespread public support for green energy initiatives and investments. The community award is an opportunity to acknowledge businesses and other organisations that ensure local people and places benefit from their commitment to renewable technologies.”

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