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Renewable energy powering North East England!

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Having attended the RenewableUK Ports & Vessels conference held in Newcastle in the North East of England on 15th March 2023, myself and Johnny Love wrote this blog noting our learnings and insights.

We followed up 2 months on with further thoughts on how the transformation from traditional energy generation to renewable energy is taking shape in North East England and its neighbour the Humber.

This article looks at how the investment in renewable energy throughout the North East region has continued despite the increasingly turbulent political landscape, business case concerns from delaying investment in mega scale projects such as Norfolk Boreas and what the future holds

Addressing the skills gap:

A key benefit of transitioning to renewable energy is the large increase in job opportunities. A recent report indicated that offshore wind alone can create over 100,000 new jobs by 2030.

Decisive action on skills is a key phrase, but what does it mean in practice? For me it means attracting and retaining a diverse range of talented people into the industry. This is captured nicely by the phrase “just transition” meaning the creation of fair, well paid jobs for people from a diverse range of backgrounds as we move away from an energy mix dominated by fossil fuels to one driven with renewable energy. One of the key ways we do that is developing high quality courses with top class facilities.

Teeside Windfarm

What I like in this story is the recognition of how in this case welding and fabrication (and equally many other specialisms) has been male-dominated so attracting a more diverse range of candidates is a priority. It’s also fitting that Hartlepool is the location of this partnership with its excellent backdrop of Teesside Windfarm which I had the pleasure to see first-hand if a little bedraggled following a recent attempt at the local Parkrun!

The power of turning great ideas into reality:

Innovation will also be vital to achieve a rapid renewable energy transition so it was pleasing to see the recognition for local firm Kinewell Energy in this article:

A platform to analyse and assess the options to transmit energy from offshore wind back to shore is an exciting addition for a developer’s toolkit as they consider optimal designs for future windfarms. This is extremely pertinent given the criticality of grid design in realising our challenging offshore wind targets in the UK and globally.

UK expertise can play a global role:

Floating wind will play an increasingly important role in the global energy transition over the coming decades. Exporting capabilities developed within UK based companies is vital to accelerating the deployment of offshore wind around the world, but also in helping communities in North East England to benefit from new investment and associated highly skilled jobs.

Green hydrogen hopes are high:

It is not just offshore wind seeing investment in the region. Tees Valley has been established as the UK’s first ever hydrogen transport hub. Proposals are being developed to host a commercial scale, sustainable aviation fuel facility using green hydrogen and other industrial waste. With aviation still facing massive headwinds to achieve net zero target this is an important step to the tantalising if distant prospect of emission free flights.

Tyne to party:

Finally, it would be rude for me not to acknowledge the fantastic news that “Grampian Tyne”, has made its debut in the region and reports ready for action at the Dogger Bank Offshore Windfarm:

Check out the excellent and passionate blog by my fellow North East colleague Steve Myers as he wonderfully articulates the pride and significance of this milestone:

The next installment of this North East region blog is planned for Winter 2023. If you would like to discuss any ideas to feature then please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks!

About the author:

Alex Fowler has lived, studied and worked in North East England all his life. He is a keen runner, with a favourite route being the iconic “black path” trail following the River Tees from Middlesbrough to Redcar. This well-known trail was once followed by sailors and workers in the huge steelworks as they moved between home and shifts. Having grown up in Middlesbrough, witnessing the evolution of this place to a leader in the transition to clean energy is exciting. Now living in Whitley Bay, Alex also has the pleasure to watch the rebirth of the River Tyne as a key offshore wind hub for operation and maintenance as well as supply chain activity. Alex has spent the last decade with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy working with a talented and dedicated sales team shaping contracts for some of the worlds’ largest windfarms.



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