Ørsted MD: We’re front and centre of the green revolution
Matthew Wright, managing director of Orsted UK
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 1 Apr 2019
AS the wider industry digests the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, Matthew Wright, managing director of Grimsby’s biggest inward investor, Orsted UK, puts it into a Humber context
It might be easy to miss the true significance of the government’s announcement of an Offshore Wind Sector Deal, but it’s hugely positive news for the Humber, for the UK and for all our futures. It marks the coming of age of offshore wind in the UK, with the industry not just leading the delivery of secure, green energy but now also representing a major driver of employment and economic growth.
This deal puts UK offshore wind right at the forefront of the global shift to green energy and is something we can take immense pride in as a country. It reminds us of the great things we’re capable of achieving.
From a standing start, and in a short space of time, offshore wind is now cost competitive with conventional forms of energy generation like gas and coal. It was only in the year 2000 that the UK’s first offshore wind farm was built, consisting of just two turbines. Yet last year, we opened the world’s biggest offshore wind farm with 87 turbines and 164 times more power than that first project.
Such is the pace of development that in February, first power was achieved at our Hornsea One project off the coast which, when complete next year, will claim the title of world’s largest offshore wind farm. Consisting of 174 turbines, the project covers an area five times the size of Hull and is located 120 kilometres out at sea.
The size and scale of these new projects has played an important role in reducing the cost of building them, making offshore wind a truly cost-effective option for our energy mix. Crucially, the industry is also generating massive investment and job opportunities for towns and cities across the North of England. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the Humber.
We’re very fortunate that the North Sea is among the best places in the world to build offshore wind, with its high wind speeds and shallow water depths which are ideal for the installation of offshore wind turbines. This puts the Humber in a great position to spearhead this new industry, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the passion, skill and drive of local people and companies wanting to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
With nearly £1 billion already invested in the Humber by Ørsted, we’re currently in the final stages of building our new East Coast Hub on Grimsby Docks.
This will be the largest operations base for offshore wind in the UK, with 400 people working at the hub by 2022. In Hull, the Siemens Gamesa blade factory already employs over 1,000 people making the giant turbine blades that are now powering our world-leading projects, like Hornsea One.
The investment from companies like ours, Siemens Gamesa and many, many more is putting the Humber at the front and centre of the UK’s green energy revolution. By setting ambitious targets and securing a long-term partnership between the government and the industry, the Sector Deal paves the way for further opportunities as offshore wind becomes the backbone of our low carbon energy system in the UK.
By 2030, offshore wind can provide a third of the UK’s electricity needs while employing 27,000 people across the country. Those are serious numbers. The Humber will be a central character as this great story continues. It’s a tale we can all be proud of.