'Make the Humber the global home of offshore wind' - Renewable UK CEO
Hugh McNeal, chief executive of RenewavbleUK, addresses Offshore Wind Connections 2019. Pictures: Simon Kench.
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 2 May 2019
A leading voice in offshore wind has called on the Humber to become the global home of the industry.
Hugh McNeal, chief executive of Renewable UK, gave the keynote address at Offshore Wind Connections 2019. It came as a 2050 target of 75GW emerged from the Committee for Climate Change report.
He is playing a key role with the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership to shape the local industrial strategy, while leading input to the celebrated sector deal.
A sell-out auditorium listens to the keynote address.
“The Humber is a place that has got under my skin,” he said, having helped lead Siemens’ investment in Hull when he was a civil servant, before making the switch. “There is such enormous potential and it should be the start of conversations, not the end of them. It is a place that deserves far greater national recognition.
“Aim high. Opportunities opened up by the sector deal the Offshore Wind Industry Council has negotiated with government in Westminster dwarfs anything you have heard me speak of before.
“This is the moment. This is the moment to use our industry, to use offshore wind and the opportunity of this deal – and for those following the debate about Net Zero – to lock in and secure regeneration and transformation that has already started here, to recharge this region for decades to come, transformative for business and industry to create high quality, high value jobs.
“Let’s become the place where the energy transformation comes to life, through innovation, learning and action.
“Offshore wind has now rightly, and at last, taken its place as one of the core industries of our country. There are only seven other sector deals that have been agreed. Over 50 have been proposed.
“So many of the jobs will be delivered locally, bringing new opportunities for the young. We are seeing huge investments, like Innogy in Royal Dock, the 500 turbine blades that now sit on the Humber bank.
“It is transforming Grimsby into the world’s leading place for offshore wind operations and maintenance. It is equally exciting to see work taking place at Aura Innovation Centre.
“I think the area will continue to be at the forefront of the offshore wind industry. It has more port capacity than any other place in the UK and straight next to one of the world’s largest areas of shallow water, perfect for fixed offshore wind, and it also has all of you – the essential network of world-leading supply organisations. We have energy intensive industries where whole businesses and processes need to be transformed and transformed quickly too, for a zero or low carbon economy, and people will choose to live locally and work locally. There is an infectious enthusiasm you cannot miss when you work here.
“Make the Humber the global home for offshore wind.”