US draws on Humber’s critical ‘community’ role in offshore wind development

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East Coast USA has turned to the Humber as it drives ambitious development plans for offshore wind.

With widespread concerns that large-scale development might harm incumbent ocean users and community way of life, the potentially damaging competition between different states and a lack of supply chain expertise, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has organised a UK delegation to speak to politicians, education experts and business leaders from October 29 to November 2.

“There is intense interest in how the Humber and other offshore wind hubs in the UK have overcome these challenges,” said Mark O’Reilly, CEO of Team Humber Marine Alliance and a key member of the delegation which includes Andrew Oliver of Andrew Jackson Solicitors, Louise Smith of Project Aura at the University of Hull, Mandy Masters of Rix Shipping and Tony Appleton, Burns & McDonnell and a board member of Team Humber Marine Alliance.

Hosted by British Embassy staff with help from the Cross-Government Prosperity Fund, the delegation is visiting Boston, New Bedford (twinned with Grimsby), Providence, New York and New Jersey, and the New Bedford Offshore Wind Symposium focusing on UK/US collaboration and with a speech on the subject from Congressman Joe Kennedy III.

Mr O’Reilly, who will speak with Tony Appleton on the US and Humber experience, said: “The US only has only one 30 MW array in operation despite areas with immense opportunities, so the sector is in its infancy. They are particularly interested in the critical role we have all played in addressing community impact while delivering value to the communities we live in.

“Team Humber Marine Alliance has already hosted a number of visits from the US and they have been hugely impressed with our progress and how we have worked together to make it happen.

“The invitation illustrates how far the Humber and other parts of the UK have come and also presents commercial opportunities as it is accepted that, while the US will develop its own supply chain, it will have to draw on European expertise in order to get momentum in the sector and meet its targets.”

It is hoped that the delegation will convey the breadth, depth and diversity of the available opportunities, and demonstrate that there are enough localised benefits to go around, provided that communities and states work together to identify a path towards sustainable growth.

Andrew Oliver of Andrew Jackson Solicitors will explain how it is possible to manage and overcome concerns about disruption to fishing and the associated way of life. “Early engagement saves litigation later,” he said.

Mandy Masters and Louise Smith will address supply chain and training issues.

The UK delegation also includes: David Surplus OBE, B9 Energy Systems; Colin Warwick, MBE Fishing Liaison Offshore Wind and Wet Renewables (FLOWW); Geoff Hooks, Kilkeel Strategic Partnership; Davey Hill, Sea Source Offshore; Phil Gilmour, Marine Scotland.

The sector is poised for tremendous grown in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US over the next decade driven by a combination of policy enthusiasm at the federal and state level, dramatic reductions in the levelized cost of electricity* and a flood of interest in the economic value and low-carbon energy potential.