The £48bn Offshore Wind Sector Deal agreed between Government and the offshore wind industry, has been welcomed by the University of Hull, which will be a key partner in delivering the skills, innovation and industry engagement needed to succeed in transforming the Humber’s energy economy.
The new Sector Deal provides a Government commitment that will enable major renewable energy companies to invest up to £48bn over the next 10 years to grow offshore wind energy being produced in the UK from 7.9GW today to at least 30GW by 2030.
The deal will combat climate change, triple the number of highly-skilled workers in the industry to 27,000 – including a target of at least 33% being women and ensuring a wider variety from ethnic backgrounds – and also dramatically cut energy costs to consumers. It will mean that, for the first time in UK history, there will be more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels, with 70% of British electricity from low carbon sources.
The University of Hull and its ambitious Aura initiative, which brings together academic, industry and local government expertise, is at the forefront of the offshore wind sector and is at the heart of the Humber Advanced Cluster, which has been identified as a priority in the deal.
In recent months Aura has started work on an £12m innovation centre in the Humber to develop the next generation of offshore wind technology, targeted at SMEs and has also secured £5.5m of government research and innovation funding to lead the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) consortium, which will create a host of opportunities for over 75 post-graduate PhD students, generating a rich pipeline of leadership talent for the industry.
Professor Dan Parsons, Director of the Energy & Environment Institute at the University of Hull, says: “This new Offshore Wind Sector Deal is a clear acknowledgement from the Government that offshore wind is working for the country – and recognition of the growing international leadership of the Humber region in offshore wind.
“Our recent funding win for the Aura doctoral training centre, along with our partner universities of Sheffield, Durham and Newcastle, in offshore wind is demonstrating how government funding in this sector is working. Industry will need cutting edge innovative solutions and highly-skilled people to achieve these ambitious targets. The Aura CDT is all about achieving this.
“The Humber cluster will be critical to the success of this Sector Deal and the Aura initiative will create the right environment for real innovation to flourish, while also ensuring a diverse and skilled pipeline of talent is available to industry.”
University of Hull Honorary Research Fellow and former Deputy Prime Minister, Lord John Prescott, says: “This Sector Deal has been a long-term goal for the Humber and is a great opportunity that will further cement Humber as the heart of the offshore wind energy sector.
“For more than a decade people across this region have been working hard to put us at the heart of the offshore wind industry and this deal will ensure we can continue to grow the Humber cluster so that this region and the entire country will benefit in the long-term. Our vision, ultimately, is for a sustainable, low-carbon future which will change people’s lives here in the Humber for the good.
“To succeed, we need continued collaboration between industry, politicians, academia and the wider supply chain. The University of Hull and Aura will be pivotal, delivering the ideas, research, innovation and skills we need as we push ahead to a future of clean growth. This is a firm step to the Humber new industrial revolution.”