Our renewable energy industry is a UK success story

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First published in Report, July 2021

The Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, sets out the Government’s plans for green growth and welcomes new investment in port infrastructure to support the growth of the offshore wind sector

Our renewable energy industry is a UK success story, providing cheap, green electricity and supporting thousands of jobs. For offshore wind in particular, the UK has the largest market in the world with more than 10GW already powering homes and industry with clean electricity but also crucially providing jobs up and down the country.

In the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan, we stated our ambition to produce enough offshore wind to power every home in the country by quadrupling the capacity of offshore wind available to generate 40GW by 2030. Powering every home in the UK through offshore wind is hugely ambitious, but it is exactly this kind of ambition which will mean we can build back greener and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

In delivering on this ambitious objective we will position the UK to take advantage of export opportunities in new, global emerging markets in low carbon technologies and services, providing jobs, supporting levelling up and reinvigorating our industrial heartlands. The nation’s ports have a critical role to play in delivering this ambition, both as important links in the supply chain and as hubs for renewable energy growth in coastal communities around the country.

We have already seen the benefits of this in Lowestoft with the first-rate operations and maintenance (O&M) support the port has provided for the Greater Gabbard and East Anglia ONE offshore wind farms. This role is set to continue and grow with ABP’s ambitious investment plans to develop the port. Over the next five years, ABP will develop the Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF), which will bring significant upgrades to marine facilities at Lowestoft’s Outer Harbour, providing a boost to regional growth and supporting the UK’s journey towards decarbonisation.

The Port of Lowestoft plays an important role at the heart of the local economy and this investment ensures this role will grow in future. By attracting additional supply chain companies to Lowestoft this investment will support the continued growth of the sector and help create an energy cluster which will bring new jobs and prosperity to the region.

ABP is already the primary host of O&M bases in the UK, with a proven trackrecord in providing infrastructure and facilities to support offshore wind farms in the ports of Barrow, Grimsby and Lowestoft. In recent years ABP has also developed Green Port Hull, where leading wind turbine supplier Siemens Gamesa has been manufacturing offshore wind turbine blades since 2016, and facilitated the load out of over 2GW of turbines from the state-of-the-art production and assembly facility.

ABP’s work in developing new facilities and servicing our offshore wind farms has been indispensable and more than 50% of our capacity is now supported by ABP assets. I’m sure that number will grow as this impressive performance continues in the years ahead.

I am delighted to see the benefits of the offshore wind success story at work at the Port of Lowestoft, where I welcome ABP’s exciting plans for development. This investment will see Lowestoft accommodating the next generation of offshore wind support vessels and put the port in a fantastic position to attract further business and investment, as well as further strengthen the UK’s offshore wind infrastructure and port facilities.

We are at the crux of something special in the offshore wind sector in the UK and it is infrastructure investments like this that will deliver benefits to communities up and down the UK in years to come. I very much look forward.