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Humber has an opportunity to become a green energy leader, Armitt says

The chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has called on local businesses and council leaders in Humber to “seize the opportunity” and ensure the region leads the way on green energy.

On a visit to Siemens Gamesa’s wind turbine facility at Green Port Hull, Sir John Armitt said green energy was already “a game-changer” for Humber as it continued to prove its potential in boosting the local economy and bring high-skilled jobs to the area.

The region which is home to several major low carbon and renewables projects, including the Siemens Gamesa site, has already created over 1,000 jobs, with the sector estimating that offshore wind could support 27,000 jobs across the UK by 2030.

The site provides blades for Orsted’s Hornsea One offshore windfarm, the world’s largest of its kind, which is located off the East Yorkshire coast and operated from Grimsby.

In July, the NIC published its National Infrastructure Assessment – the first ever for the UK – which recommends that 50% of the UK’s electricity should come from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, by 2030.

Commenting on green energy and the Humber’s potential, Armitt said: “We think we should be more ambitious and in our National Infrastructure Assessment the Commission has said that ministers should aim for at least half of the UK’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030, as a step towards a highly renewable generation mix. Offshore wind will have a major role to play in achieving that goal, alongside other technologies such as onshore wind and solar. We encourage local leaders to continue to seize the opportunity for the region to be a key player in the production of green energy.”

The commission’s visit follows the launch earlier this month of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which outlined government ambitions for offshore wind to provide a third of all UK electricity by 2030 and for UK firms to provide 60% of future UK-based offshore projects.

Lord Haskins, the chair of the Humber LEP which helped co-ordinate the visit, said clean growth and renewable energy remained at the heart of the Humber’s offer that the region was looking to build on this over coming decades to increase investment, jobs and skills.

Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Henri Murison, added: “There is a huge amount of energy expertise in the North – hydrogen has great potential in heating and for transport, Drax are leading the agenda around carbon capture and storage and the expertise in renewables from companies such as Siemens Gamesa is vast. Our energy industrial strategy for the North will bring together the different strands of Northern energy expertise into a comprehensive plan be adopted by government and industry to boost the North’s economy.”