GRIMSBY LIVE article 'Grimsby leading 'massive UK success story'according to Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom' by David Laister 16:54, 3 DEC 2019
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has taken in the world’s largest offshore wind operations and maintenance base on the General Election campaign, as she underlined the “massive UK success story” that Grimsby is leading on.
The Conservative frontbencher came to the town’s Royal Dock to tour Orsted’s East Coast Hub, as a guest of North East Lincolnshire’s parliamentary candidates Martin Vickers and Lia Nici.
And in discussions with senior figures in the business she told how she would “really like to see a 75 per cent UK supply chain” having been told how Hornsea One – about to take the world’s largest title – was closing in on 50 per cent.
Duncan Clark, project director for it and successor Hornsea Two – to follow by 2022 – told how the team was now working towards 60 per cent UK content as in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal underlined by former Prime Minister Theresa May at the £14 million base back in March.
“I don’t think 60 per cent is quite ambitious enough,” the runner-up in the leadership contest to replace David Cameron back in 2016 said.
“Having been Energy Minister I’d like to see some of the UK fabrication yards from oil and gas being converted to become fabricators for towers and platforms.”
Mr Clark assured her this was happening, adding that the “most exciting supply chain stories” were of the growth in export opportunities, with a 20GW to 30GW opportunity in the UK part of a wider 200GW picture worldwide.
He also told how 400 people worked directly from the town base, with colleague Lauren Little explaining how six wind farms were operated from the site, with other operators also on the docks.
Mrs Leadsom is now in charge at BEIS, with energy and industrial strategy strapped onto the business remit.
She said: “It has just been fantastic to see the growth of offshore wind since I was here as Energy Minister in 2015, I’m so pleased with the progress. These beautiful offices are a commitment, and we can see staff now building a cleaner, greener future for the UK.
“Growth of the UK supply chain for offshore wind is something I am really keen to see, to have more UK suppliers able to take part in this new industry, and I'm so pleased to see this happening.”
Encouraged to hear about a learning centre development at East Coast Hub, Mrs Leadsom said: “We need more education for young people so they can see what the UK is doing, the fact we are leading in offshore wind deployment. It is something the people of Grimsby can be incredibly proud of, creating jobs, and not just here, but right around the supply chain from engineering firms to construction firms, technologies and science involved to making the cables that bring the electricity to shore. It is massive UK success story.”
Mrs Leadsom told how there are 400,000 people in clean energy jobs now, with BEIS predicting that figure will rise to two million by 2030.
She also floated a potential consultation into an offshore ring main – an alternative to the current system of each farm having a direct onshore substation link – should she be returned and remain in post, with further questions about floating wind turbines, safety and vessel development.
A meeting with Associated British Ports followed, ahead of a dinner with business representatives.
Other candidates in Great Grimsby are Ian Barfield, Lib Dem; Chris Barker, Brexit Party and Melanie Onn, Labour. Also standing in Cleethorpes are Roy Horobin, Lib Dem; Ros James, Labour and Jodi Shanahan, Green.
The North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) has stated publicly that it wants to engage with both the Norwegian and U.K. authorities to pull them into the development of the offshore hub. As well as offshore wind expertise and access to the North Sea, both can also use oil and gas know-how to store hydrogen in offshore reservoirs and retrofit gas pipelines to transport hydrogen instead. A spokesperson for BEIS said: “The government recognizes the benefits of hybrid projects, including joint interconnector and wind projects, which may develop into efficient and cost-effective solutions to help the U.K. decarbonize. We are continuing to engage with stakeholders and developers to understand the potential benefits of these projects.”
Installing an additional 30GW within ten years will require significant changes to a range of policy frameworks, and co-operation between government and industry, writes Christopher Hopson