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Ports will play a pivotal role in Wales’ transition to a new low carbon economy

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

Andy Reay, Head of Offshore Wind, ABP

Andy Reay, ABP’s Head of Offshore Wind, returns to talk to RenewableUK about the central role he sees ports playing in supporting Floating Offshore Wind in the Celtic Sea. With his experience of complex Offshore Wind Projects and deep understanding of business interests in the sector, he is well placed to identify and realise commercial opportunities of which there are many in South Wales.

ABP has five ports in South Wales: Swansea, Port Talbot, Barry, Cardiff and Newport.

Today, these ports contribute £1.5 billion to the UK economy every year and together with ABP’s partners, support 21,800 jobs across the UK. They have played a key role in the creation of the modern industrial world and looking ahead, I believe they will need to play a pivotal role in Wales’ transition to a new low carbon economy.

I welcomed the Government’s latest energy strategy announcement which has raised ambitions for renewable energy generation. It is clear to me that ports are an essential partner in the delivery of the UK’s objectives on this, including reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050. There has already been progress made by Welsh ports in minimising the impact of port operations on the environment. The next step will require significant investment to enable the ports to act as focal points for the energy transition, supporting offshore wind, hydrogen production, Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage and new low carbon industries.

Already, multi GWs of installed capacity has been forecast for floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea. We know that investment is needed to improve port infrastructure for Wales and the UK to, in turn, take full advantage of the energy transition. Experience has shown that capital has flowed into regions which have invested in the offshore wind industry. This is demonstrated well in what has been achieved on the Humber through a cornerstone investment from ABP and Siemens Gamesa in Green Port Hull which has triggered other investments across the region. It was estimated that hundreds of millions in supply chain investment could be secured for every 1GW of capacity proposed for floating offshore wind based on the recent ScotWind project announcements. The Celtic Sea therefore has the potential to unlock significant opportunities which we cannot afford to miss out on. This investment in the Celtic Sea will create and support thousands of highly skilled and well-paid jobs across the region.

ABP has developed plans and a master planning vision for its South Wales Ports, commencing at Port Talbot. I hope that these plans will inform the wider floating offshore wind industry on what can be achieved in the region and allow a Celtic Sea region-wide plan to be developed. ABP is carrying out this work in partnership with renewable energy developers and key stakeholders. We also recognise the need to work with other ports within the Celtic Sea region and collaborate as much as possible to deliver on the huge potential the low carbon transition presents for Wales. This collaboration will make sure that we share rewards, and intelligence, and deliver better outcomes for the economy, the environment and our societies.



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