Global focus on the Humber for offshore wind expertise, experience and expectations

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 1 Dec 2017

HIGH-level delegations from East and West are heading to the Humber next week, tapping into the region’s renewable energy know-how.

First here is a delegation from Maryland, USA, hosted by Team Humber Marine Alliance.

The state is spearheading the country’s entrance into the market, having been given the go-ahead to install 368MW of capacity that will start generating power from 2020.

The Humber visit on Monday and Tuesday results from a Northern Powerhouse trade mission to Maryland, Massachusetts and Washington DC in February 2016, led by Mark O’Reilly, chairman and chief executive of Team Humber Marine Alliance.

It will be followed immediately by a visit from Taiwan, with Dr David Lin, the country’s representative in the UK, taking in the port and offshore wind businesses, hosted by Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, who visited Taiwan in the summer.

READ MORE: US government party on way to Humber for wind energy fact-finding visit

Looking ahead to the US arrival, Mr O’Reilly said: “The Americans recognise the Humber as the main UK centre for offshore wind excellence and a key economic driver. 

“The previous American parties we have hosted have invariably been impressed by the transformative nature of clean energy investment on local economies.”

Mr O’Reilly added that Team Humber’s remit included attracting inward investment, promoting the region and putting member companies in the frame for new opportunities. 

“Now that that legislators in the US have taken the brakes off, we have firms who have several years’ experience in all aspects of wind power and the offshore environment.” 

Liz Burdock, executive director of Maryland’s Business Network for Offshore Wind, said they were looking forward to seeing how the Humber region is benefiting from being at the forefront of the new energy revolution.

“We also have a huge opportunity to create an unparalleled level of economic growth, with the prospect of thousands of new direct and indirect jobs, while helping Maryland to reach its goal of increasing the renewables generation target to 25 per cent of retail electricity sales by 2020.

 “We are dedicated to building a network that will usher the US into the offshore wind market.”

READ MORE: Hornsea Project One provides further UK manufacturing boost

The seven-strong party will start their visit at Green Port Hull and Siemens Gamesa on Monday before moving on to the University of Hull for a Green Port Impact Assessment event and presentations and discussions with local authorities, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and Team Humber Marine Alliance.

On Tuesday they will be in Grimsby at E.on Humber Gateway and Ørsted Energy, before moving on to Modal Training at Immingham and the Catch training facility at Stallingborough.

They will then return to Hull for a preview event of the new offshore wind Operations and Maintenance Centre of Excellence in the Humber region. 

Dr Lin, together with trade envoy, will enjoy a civic reception at Grimsby Town Hall, hosted by Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Coun Ron Shepherd, on Thursday, before taking in Catch, Phillips 66 and Port of Immingham. An evening dinner with key stakeholders will be held, with a Friday morning visit to the offshore wind facilities in Grimsby.

This national visit builds on a recent regional delegation. "The focus of the visit is on the renewables sector; Taiwan imports 98 per cent of its energy needs and is rapidly developing renewables,” Mr Vickers said. “It is an opportunity for local businesses to explore potential export opportunities and sell their expertise, either by looking to send people out there or to liaise with businesses there.”

Impressed by their dynamism, he added: “They may be 12 years behind us in the development of offshore wind, but they won’t be 12 years in developing it out.”

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