Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told The Yorkshire Post that the investment into the Able Marine Energy Park, on the South Bank of the River Humber, will allow the region to become “a model” of the transition from traditionally polluting industrial areas to new green industries.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson added the announcement would allow the Humber area to “take its rightful place at the cutting edge of the UK’s future”.Work will begin later this year to update the port with new infrastructure and give it the capacity to house up to four manufacturers to support the development of the next-generation of offshore wind projects, substantially boosting the UK’s offshore wind base.
The Government has claimed that the new port will mean smaller suppliers across the UK will be well-placed to win contracts and attract further investment from energy companies around the world, as the UK looks to cement its position as a global leader on wind power.
Once completed, the port will have the capacity to support the development of 6GW of energy offshore wind projects each year – enough electricity to power approximately five million homes.
Mr Kwarteng added that the designation of the Humber area as a freeport and a growing preponderance of green energy industries around the estuary could allow the region to reclaim its position as a substantial contributor to British industry, which he admitted had been diminished in recent years.
The Business Secretary said: “The Humber cluster as we call it was traditionally carbon emitting.
“But I think through the development of offshore wind, through the deployment of carbon capture and through this investment it can really become a model of the transition from one form of industrial power to another cleaner, greener industrial power.”
He added that Brexit represented “a huge advantage” for the region. Mr Kwarteng said: “If you look back, before we were members of the EEC as it was called, it was really a strong industrial base that provided a lot of the economic backbone to this country and there is no reason with the energy transition that we can’t recapture that.”
The announcement comes as the Government also confirmed that the Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre, on the River Tees, would receive a £20m investment to provide similar infrastructure.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Johnson said: “The improved facilities will help new and existing businesses to build, install and maintain the mighty turbines of the Hornsea One offshore wind farm, the largest the world has ever seen.
“As it silently whirrs away just over the horizon, it will create energy for millions of British homes and prosperity for countless Humberside families.
“So today’s announcement is more than just a cheque for £75m. It’s an investment in our planet, and an investment in your community – one that will pay dividends for all of us for generations to come.”
The announcement was welcomed by political and business leaders, and North Lincolnshire Council’s leader Rob Waltham said the new port would help create well-paid, highly-skilled jobs and drive further investment.
“The people of North Lincolnshire will benefit from this for many years to come,” he said.
Peter Stephenson, the executive chairman of the Able Group, added: “We will seek to maximise the benefits, locally and nationally, through increased UK content, new jobs and opportunities for local businesses.”
The Government has a target of 60 per cent of offshore wind farm manufacturing coming from the UK’s supply chain.