By on 18 April 2018

- Siemens Gamesa Head of Business Development to highlight region’s role in industry’s growth at Offshore Wind Connections conference - Success of Hull investment contributes to industrial cluster delivering innovation and cost reduction

The Humber has become “the envy of the world” as offshore wind powers a revolution in affordable green energy generation, a major industry conference will hear.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is the headline Diamond Sponsor of the Offshore Wind Connections conference, organised by Team Humber Marine Alliance, which will draw leading industry figures from the UK and abroad.

Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development for Siemens Gamesa, will tell the event the Humber has become the global benchmark for successful development of offshore wind, forming a powerful industrial cluster and a focus for the industry’s Sector Deal proposals to the UK Government to support further growth.

Mr Thompson said: “Investment, innovation and collaboration is consolidating the Humber as a major hub for offshore wind, not just in the UK but on a global scale.

“Ten years ago if you wanted to see how the wind industry worked you went to Bremerhaven in Germany. Now everybody wants to come to Hull to see how it’s done.

“We’ve had visitors from Japan and Korea in the past few weeks and people from the United States are coming over regularly. The Humber is seen as the benchmark location for offshore wind – it’s the envy of the world.

“There’s now a recognition that a great deal of economic growth is delivered in specific geographies. In the Humber we have access to offshore wind projects creating demand and long-term opportunities for operations and maintenance; manufacturing facilities; a growing supply chain; supportive local politicians and an effective trade association in Team Humber Marine Alliance. Those are the ingredients for continuing growth going forward.”

Mr Thompson will tell the conference, to be held at the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Hull on April 25 and 26, that Siemens Gamesa’s investment in a blade factory and associated facilities in Hull had delivered on its objectives.

He said: “We took a blank canvas and, with huge investment, created exactly what you would want in terms of combining manufacturing, assembly, logistics and a port facility, all in one purpose-built location.

“Hull has been a fantastic success. It was delivered ahead of time and on budget. We’ve ramped up production and we’ve made hundreds of blades. We’re also delighted we’ve been able to deliver on our promise of jobs for local people, with 97% of employees from the local area.

“It’s often forgotten that Hull is not just a blade factory; it’s also a purpose-built execution port and, from a standing start, we’ve already built two projects, Dudgeon and Race Bank, using Hull as a port facility.

“Not only do we have a successful blade manufacturing facility on the quay edge where it needs to be, but we have also delivered, commissioned and proven Hull as a world-class facility for project execution.”

Preparatory work has now begun to manufacture even larger 81.5m blades, for Siemens Gamesa’s next generation 8MW turbines. Production will be in time to supply Ørsted's huge Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm, which will be the latest to raise the bar as the world’s largest.

“It’s testament to what has been achieved in Hull that, so soon after the site has been established, we have confidence that it will be the location to build even bigger blades,” said Mr Thompson.

He will tell the Offshore Wind Connections conference the UK offshore wind industry had delivered “staggering” cost reductions as installed capacity has grown to 7.5GW, with a pipeline of projects offering potential to exceed 30GW.

He added: “A few years ago offshore wind was an expensive but green choice. We were asking bill payers to pay a premium to decarbonise electricity generation.

“The cost reduction that’s been achieved by larger turbines, bigger installation vessels, better ports and investment in facilities such as Hull means that’s no longer the case. In fact, we are now the cheapest form of utility scale generation.

“The ask of bill payers to fund the early stage projects has really worked. Over time, when the newer projects are built, that will drive down bills.”

Team Humber Marine Alliance represents more than 200 businesses working in the offshore and marine sectors and has attracted an impressive line-up of expert speakers and panelists to Offshore Wind Connections. They will put the spotlight on current developments in offshore wind and the increasingly positive outlook for green technology, with a strong focus on the Humber where billions of pounds are being invested offshore and in onshore infrastructure.

Delegates are being offered pre-booked sessions with industry experts on April 25, followed by a pre-conference networking event with trade body RenewableUK, and the main conference sessions on April 26.

Mark O'Reilly, Team Humber Chairman and CEO, will open the conference and Hull City Council leader, Councillor Stephen Brady, will welcome delegates to the city.

The conference speakers are:

Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy; Morten Holm, Ørsted's Head of Operations for Hornsea 1; Martin Ferreira, Head of Offshore Investment and Asset Management, Innogy; Ben George, Director of Aura; Matt Jukes, Chief executive, Hull City Council; Maf Smith, Deputy Chief Executive, RenewableUK; Lorna Bennet, Mechanical Engineer, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult; Andy Reay, Regional Manager, A2SEA; Callum Draper, Environmental Consultant, Royal Haskoning DHV.

Discussion group panelists are:

Neil Gordon, SubseaUK; Keith Anderson, Wood Group; John Davies, Helix Canyon Offshore Ltd; Sarah Cashmore, 4C Offshore; Peter Cherneski, Boskalis Subsea Solutions; David Wells, University of Hull; Bjarne Christensen, Semco Maritime; Bert de Ruiter, Acta Marine; Dr Jennie Kevis-Stirling, James Fisher Marine Services; and Owen Murphy, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

As well as Siemens Gamesa as Diamond Sponsor, the conference is supported by Innogy, Ørsted, Hull Serviced Apartments, the University of Hull's Project Aura and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult are Platinum Sponsors.

Other sponsors and partners include RenewableUK, Green Port Hull, ABP, McAusland Turner, Mapa PR, Grimsby Renewable Partnership, RSM and SubseaUK.

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