Beverley MP: Offshore wind supply chain 'must improve' to hit energy targets
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 14 May 2019
Strengthening the offshore wind supply chain is vital in ensuring the sector continues to grow, an East Yorkshire MP has warned.
Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, made the plea while speaking at a leading conference for offshore wind in Hull earlier this month.
It came as fellow MP Karl Turner also criticised a decision to allow cheaper foreign labour to be used in the Humber’s offshore sector.
The immigration loophole allows companies to pay non-European workers less than the UK minimum wage, with some working for less than £4 an hour.
Mr Stuart said at the Offshore Wind Connections conference in Hull: “We know the Humber is a world leader in an industry with a bright future.
“Never would people think the UK would get more of its electricity from offshore wind than from coal.
Graham Stuart addressing delegates at Offshore Wind Connections in Hull (Simon Kench)
“It is amazing to see how far offshore wind has come along – it is a remarkable achievement. As global leaders in offshore wind, we now need to improve and strengthen the UK supply chain.”
Mr Stuart called for “commitment from all those involved” in the offshore sector, to create new jobs and opportunities for people in the country.
His words came just days before Karl Turner – Hull East’s MP – blasted the Home Office’s decision to allow companies to employ non-EU workers for wind farm construction and maintenance until April 2020.
The move has been labelled as a “betrayal” of UK seafarers by union RMT.
Mr Turner said: “This is the fourth waiver the Home Office has granted and this time even without the industry requesting the waiver.
The offshore wind sector deal has been released by the government (PA)
“It is a further blow to UK seafarers. The offshore wind sector is a growing industry and it is vital that British seafarers can compete fairly for these jobs.
“The Government need to end this exploitation immediately and give our own skilled British seafarers the opportunity to compete for these jobs.”
The Humber is currently driving the UK’s clean energy and offshore wind ambitions.
Mr Stuart said targets laid out in the offshore wind sector deal – published earlier this year – were ambitious, but achievable.
He told delegates at Offshore Wind Connections: “The price (of offshore wind electricity) has come down a lot - it was once £120 per MW hour, now it is down to £57 per MW hour.
“Looking ahead, we could see 30GW of electricity generated by offshore wind by 2030. It will be challenging but achievable.”
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Mr Stuart also used his speech to stress the importance of tackling climate change, and said the Humber had a key role to play.
“We must continue to prioritise the fight against climate change. The world is warming too much, and it is up to us to change it,” he said.
“There are carbon targets which are set in law. We must continue the fight. If we do that, offshore wind has a very bright future in the UK.
“The capacity is rising, and the cost is falling. The energy we need should be low-carbon. Offshore is obviously a low-carbon choice.
“We want energy that is renewable and secure. We want energy that does not take up space on a relatively crowded island. We want to deliver more of what we now have here in the UK, and we then want to export that around the world.”