Offshore Wind Sector Deal to deliver MORE for the Energy Estuary

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 7 Mar 2019

The Humber has today welcomed the arrival of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, billed as a transformative partnership that will put the UK - and keep the Energy Estuary - at the forefront of a global shift to clean growth. 

It promises hundreds more jobs and further huge projects off the coast, where more, larger, wind farms are likely to be located - with even more emphasis on British benefit.

By 2030 UK capacity will be almost quadrupled - rising from 8GW to 30GW - with employment numbers to triple. 

The deal, delayed since before Christmas when initially anticipated, was completed last month, as revealed by executive director of trade body RenewableUK, Emma Pinchbeck, in Grimsby a month ago. 

Now it has been made public, with plans to boost productivity and competitiveness in the UK supply chain.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry, pictured above, said: “This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.  

“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a fivefold increase in exports.  This is our modern industrial strategy in action.”

Grimsby’s biggest investor in offshore wind, world leader Ørsted, is on course to employing 400 people in the town alone, with 300 already working here. 

Matthew Wright, pictured right, UK managing director at the company that has developed a huge East Coast Hub on Royal Dock, beneath the iconic Dock Tower, said: “The sector deal marks the coming of age of offshore wind as both a significant part of the UK’s energy transformation and an industrial powerhouse driving economic growth.   

“We should see the offshore wind industry as a huge UK success story. Costs have been driven down dramatically so that offshore wind is now competitive with conventional forms of energy generation, and at the same time the sector has delivered jobs, investment and growth across northern towns and cities.

“Ørsted alone will have invested over £13 billion in the UK by the end of 2021. This transformative sector deal will unlock significant additional investment from the whole industry and put offshore wind at the front and centre of the UK’s industrial strategy.”

The company is currently building Hornsea One off the Humber – where first power has already been achieved – which will be nearly double the size. It will soon see the town surpass 1.5GW of installed capacity, taking it further than 2.5GW when complete at the end of the year.

WATCH: The building of Race Bank offshore wind farm, the latest to complete off the Humber.

Hornsea Two, due to be completed by 2022, will be even bigger and break the record again for the world’s largest offshore wind farm, adding a further 1.4GW. Across all projects it will then provide enough power for a fifth of UK homes, and form the central plank of a clear path to 8GW for Grimsby. By then Innogy will have joined the party with Triton Knoll, having revealed its plans, also for Royal Dock, at the GRP event at Humber Royal Hotel last month. It is a 860MW farm off the Lincolnshire coast. It is also behind wind farm Sofia, which will enter the first CfD auction of the new era. Located off the North Yorkshire coast it is seen as another possibility for the Humber cluster

Paul Cowling, director of offshore wind for Innogy, said: “The Offshore Wind Sector Deal is fantastic news for the UK, the offshore wind industry and the environment. iInnogy already has a portfolio of seven offshore wind farms in the UK, and the announcement of this deal will give developers like ourselves the confidence and security to develop projects into the next decade and beyond. Crucially, this deal will also lead to thousands of new UK jobs and will create significant opportunities for the UK supply chain and businesses up and down the country."

This is the first Sector Deal for a renewable energy technology. It puts offshore wind at the centre of the nation’s clean, affordable and reliable energy system, generating one-third of our electricity.

The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind, with more capacity than any other country, the biggest offshore wind farms and the most powerful turbines. The supply chain extends to every part of the country, and UK companies are already exporting offshore wind products and services to more than 20 countries. 

With the Sector Deal now in place, those exports are set to increase fivefold in value to £2.6 billion a year by 2030. 

MORE: Grimsby's path to 8GW of installed capacity

It will build on the established success, with industry investing up to £250 million to develop the UK supply chain, increasing productivity and fostering innovation. This includes an investment of up to £100 million in a new industry programme, the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, which will help UK companies seeking to grow their business in the rapidly-growing global offshore wind market, as well as a new initiative to develop skills for the sector.

Chief executive of RenewableUK, Hugh McNeal, pictured left, said: “The Sector Deal is about creating opportunities for the people who will be part of our 27,000-strong offshore wind workforce. We’re setting up a new body to develop the right skills for years to come, not only by offering apprenticeships, but also by helping experienced people from other parts of the energy sector, as well as the military, to make the change into offshore wind. We also want to ensure far more diversity in the industry, by reaching a target of at least 33 per cent women employees by 2030, and by recruiting people from a wider variety of ethnic backgrounds.

“This deal will also ensure that the UK maintains its leading role as an offshore wind  innovation hub, accelerating our world-class R&D in fields like robotics and artificial intelligence, and cutting-edge technologies being put through their paces at our globally-renowned test facilities.”

Benj Sykes, UK country manager for Ørsted and also co-chair of the UK’s Offshore Wind Industry Council, has played a key role in overseeing the Grimsby’s progress, having seen Lincs, Westermost Rough and Race Bank inaugurated on his watch, working alongside six energy ministers to get to today's major milestone. He said: “Now that we’ve sealed this transformative deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s industrial strategy, offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future.

“This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities. Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.”

BIG READ: How the Humber's two biggest names in offshore wind responded to the sector deal

As part of the deal a fund will be established to help companies already active in the UK explore global markets. It will open later this year.

Tom Thackray, CBI energy and infrastructure director, said: “The UK is a world leader in clean growth initiatives and technology. The Offshore Wind Sector Deal – a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy – reflects the importance of offshore wind as part of the country’s low-carbon power supply, and is great news for the sector’s future.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to provide over £4 million to support British businesses share their expertise globally, and benefit from new markets.

“The Government must redouble its efforts to implement all parts of the Industrial Strategy, in order to boost productivity and prosperity across the UK for the long run. This includes more joined-up thinking and better co-ordination between government departments.”

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