Energy Park funding deal fuels hopes of 3,000 jobs
The executive chairman of Able Group, Peter Stephenson, has welcomed the announcement that Government will provide £75m of support to the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP), which aims to put the region at the heart of the offshore wind sector.
The site on the Humber’s south bank was first proposed 12 years ago, with Stephenson stating the decision on Wednesday was the “culmination of dogged perseverance underpinned by our ultimate faith in the concept and unstinting support from many organisations and individuals”.
The scheme which has been selected for support under the Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme, represents a half a billion pound investment that by 2030 would create up to 3,000 jobs.
Plans for the site go back to the turn of the century, with Able starting the land assembly process in 1999. However plans for the site were first conceived according to Able UK in 2009, with the view of creating privately owned port and bespoke facility to serve the needs of the offshore wind sector. The scheme went on to secure planning permission through a Development Consent order in 2014.
Following the announcement this week the first phase of development will focus on 536 acres of land and the the construction of heavy duty deep water quays, with work due to start in April.
The site is expected to feature facilities for manufacturers, including potentially for Korean steel producer SeAH who could develop the UK’s first major monopile production facility at the site.
Stephenson added: “This has been a long, challenging and expensive journey and has not been for the faint-hearted– make no mistake, without the level of support that we have received from Government, the project would not have proceeded.
“The Government has set clear unambiguous policies that provide the offshore wind sector with far greater certainty and market visibility. At the same time the sector itself has responded with remarkable innovations and cost reductions which now see it successfully competing with other energy sources.
“We will seek to maximise the benefits, locally and nationally, through increased UK content, new jobs and new opportunities for local businesses which, of course’ is further buoyed by the Humber having been granted Freeport Status.
“From a company perspective we have long since embraced and understood the need to combat climate change and AMEP can be an integral part of a more sustainable future as we move towards net zero carbon emissions.”
The news has been welcomed by the MP for Cleethorpes Martin Vickers, who added: “This is great news for the Humber and the UK as a whole. I have long maintained that the Humber should be central to the UK’s offshore wind sector. This is now clearly recognised by Government and we are now empowered to bring this significant project to fruition, bringing with-it high-quality jobs for my constituents.”
Lord Haskins, the former chair of the Humber LEP also commented: “This has been a long and incredible journey and today’s announcement provides both a massive boost and opportunity for the Humber. The process has not always been straightforward and there have been a number of hurdles to clear. This represents the culmination of considerable grit and determination from the Able team and those of us that retained the belief that AMEP was a vital key to the area’s future success.”