Lord Prescott says the Humber is poised to be at heart of 'next industrial revolution'

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 7 Mar 2019

Lord Prescott said the Humber region is perfectly poised to be at the heart of the UK’s “next industrial revolution,” having been praised in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal announcement.

The former deputy Prime Minister and Hull MP said there had “never been a more exciting time for the region,” as it took centre stage in the publication. 

The honorary research fellow at the University of Hull also spoke about the region’s £12m Aura Innovation Centre, which was touted in the deal to be at the heart of the Humber’s green energy sector moving forwards.

Lord Prescott said: “Today is without doubt a significant step towards the next industrial revolution, which will be in clean energy.

“What is important now is for the university to continue with its research and development, and to create a whole new set of graduates to meet the demands in the sector.

The ground breaking ceremony for the Aura Innovation Centre, Bridgehead Business Park in Hessle. (Neil Holmes)

“The university is ideally placed at the centre of the offshore wind industry. It is the university itself that first brought me to Hull back in 1954.”

The new Sector Deal provides a Government commitment that will enable major renewable energy companies to invest up to £48bn over the next 10 years to grow offshore wind energy being produced in the UK, from 7.9GW today to at least 30GW by 2030.

Read more: Top voices in Humber's offshore wind industry react to sector deal

The deal will combat climate change, triple the number of highly-skilled workers in the industry to 27,000 – including a target of at least 33 per cent being women.

It will also mean that, for the first time in UK history, there will be more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels, with 70 per cent of British electricity from low carbon sources.

The University of Hull (University of Hull)

The University of Hull and its ambitious Aura project, which brings together academic, industry and local government expertise, has been identified as a priority in the deal.

Professor Dan Parsons, director of the Energy & Environment Institute at the University of Hull, said: “This new Offshore Wind Sector Deal is a clear acknowledgement from the Government that offshore wind is working for the country – and recognition of the growing international leadership of the Humber region in offshore wind.

Read more: Offshore Wind Sector Deal to deliver MORE for the Energy Estuary

“Our recent funding win for the Aura doctoral training centre, along with our partner universities of Sheffield, Durham and Newcastle, in offshore wind is demonstrating how government funding in this sector is working.  

“Industry will need cutting edge innovative solutions and highly-skilled people to achieve these ambitious targets.  The Aura CDT is all about achieving this.”

The Humber has become “the envy of the world” for its pioneering offshore wind sector (GrimsbyTelegraph)

In recent months, Aura has started work on an £12m innovation centre in the Humber to develop the next generation of offshore wind technology.

Targeted at SMEs, the Hessle-based centre has secured £5.5m of government research and innovation funding to lead the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) consortium, which will create a host of opportunities for over 75 post-graduate PhD students.

Read more: How the Humber's two biggest names in offshore wind see the Sector Deal

Lord Prescott, said: “This Sector Deal has been a long-term goal for the Humber and is a great opportunity that will further cement Humber as the heart of the offshore wind energy sector.

Watch: Hessle's ergo business centre opens it doors

“For more than a decade people across this region have been working hard to put us at the heart of the offshore wind industry and this deal will ensure we can continue to grow the Humber cluster so that this region and the entire country will benefit in the long-term.

“The University of Hull and Aura will be pivotal, delivering the ideas, research, innovation and skills we need as we push ahead to a future of clean growth.”

Humber Local Enterprise Partnership said the deal highlights the Humber as a flagship region in the sector which others can learn from. It was singled out within the Government document as setting a model example.

Read more: Hobson & Porter wins major contract to build £12m Aura Innovation Centre

The document specifically noted that “Local enterprise partnerships may build on the example set by the Humber LEP to maximise opportunities in the offshore wind sector by investing in specialist skills and business support, which it has done successfully through its Growth Deal, the Hull and Humber City Deal and the Greater Grimsby Town Deal”.

Lord Haskins, chair of Humber LEP, said: “The Humber Energy Estuary has been at the forefront of the development of the offshore wind sector in the UK, and is ready to play a leading role in this next phase.  We have already had some significant successes, with companies including Siemens Gamesa and Orsted bringing new jobs and investment to the region and local SMEs expanding to supply the sector.

“The ambition agreed in this deal means that there are now many more opportunities ahead for the Humber.  Our industrial strategy will set out how the Humber will support the further expansion of the offshore wind sector, making the most of our region’s potential.”

‘Just the energy boost we need’

Melanie Onn welcomes MHI Vestas service manager Matthew Paterson and Humber Gateway apprentice Amy Harris to Westminster, as part of an event she hosted to support the industry back in 2016.

KEY stakeholders in Grimsby’s burgeoning offshore wind industry are backing the Sector Deal, which sets out a clear path for substantial growth in the next decade and beyond.

While a strong pipeline and clear commitment to form an East Coast Hub on Royal Dock from Orsted has brought a level of certainty to the area, the absolute commitment of Government and industry to build together propels confidence for much more.

Read more: Orsted's East Coast Hub is go... or even Google! #GRP19 hears why it is FAB...

Flagging up the quality jobs, and further business opportunities that will help strengthen the local economy, Grimsby MP Melanie Onn said: “I’m proud to have backed this new industry from the outset and I’m looking forward to embedding it in our area and seeing more positives.”

It builds on the Stronger Towns Fund, which highlighted North East Lincolnshire’s economic transformation earlier in the week, with the pilot town deal signed last summer.

Cllr Peter Wheatley, Cabinet member for regeneration housing, skills and assets at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “In Grimsby, we have been working for a number of years now with the renewable energy firms. The industry and the associated supply chains are absolutely core to what we do. We believe in the future, and we’re doing everything we can to support this massively important sector for North East Lincolnshire.”‚Äč

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