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‘A major leap forward for both the Able Marine Energy Park and the ambitions to establish the Humber as a world-class centre for renewable energy technology.’

That was the reaction today from Able Executive Chairman Peter Stephenson welcoming the news that a leading developer in the offshore wind industry, DONG Energy, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which could see a new major operational hub for DONG Energy at the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) for the construction and installation of offshore wind farms.

The news has been widely welcomed across the region and has also been praised by the Government’s Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton.

Mr Stephenson said that, following the signing of the MOU, Able would be working closely with DONG Energy to progress their very significant development plans. This represents a major step forward in creating a cluster of companies on the Humber, able to meet the challenge of achieving cost-effective production levels which will secure the long-term future of offshore wind power generation.

DONG Energy is one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, headquartered in Denmark. With 6,500 employees it is engaged in exploring and producing oil and gas, developing, constructing and operating offshore wind farms and power stations, and providing energy to residential and business customers.

Said Mr Stephenson “AMEP provides a unique opportunity to operate on a scale that can deliver the cost targets which are needed by the industry and we are delighted that this has been recognised by the major operator.

“The Government and industry, have long advocated the creation of a strong and viable renewable energy cluster in the Humber, close to the major East Coast wind farm developments and the benefits of making that a reality are recognised in our MOU with DONG Energy. After all the real prize is to secure UK based production facilities that serve both the domestic market with the added potential benefit of exporting to other European markets.

“Covering over 800 acres and with facilities, including state-of-the art quays, specifically designed to meet the needs of the industry, AMEP is able to provide the critical mass around which the cluster can grow. Indeed DONG Energy’s presence will act as a further catalyst in this regard.”

“What we now need to see are further investment decisions made as quickly as possible and that requires continued Government support which can ensure that the Humber—and the UK as a whole—is able to benefit from using the wind resources of the North Sea as a major contributor in the transition to a carbon-free economy.”

Head of Strategic Supply Chain for DONG Energy, Joachim Steenstrup said ”Able Marine Park is very close to what you would come up with, if you had to do a painting of the optimal cluster for the renewables industry on a blank canvas…close to the sea with abundant quayside and adjoining land to manufacturer, assemble, and store goods.

“We certainly subscribe to the fact that it truly is the ‘big space in the right place’ and we do not underestimate the commitment already demonstrated by ABLE. In our dialogue with ABLE, it has also become clear that we share the same thoughts on reducing cost of electricity from renewables by creating a sizeable hub with multiple suppliers.”

Local Growth Minister James Wharton said “This signing is another significant step for the Humber Enterprise Zone and further shows that firms are realising the benefits this Zone offers for boosting their business and wider contribution to the Northern Powerhouse.

“The Government is committed to backing offshore wind as an important part of a cost-effective, low carbon energy mix. This agreement will help the UK supply chain develop in key areas like towers manufacturing and ensure the UK remain market leaders in this sector.

“As part of our long-term economic plan we’re determined to back business in the Humber and the Government’s £15m infrastructure funding is helping kick-start development at the site that will help create 4,000 new jobs for local people.”

North Lincolnshire Council Leader Liz Redfern said “This is fantastic news for North Lincolnshire and the Humber. AMEP will deliver a state of the art purpose built facility – the largest in Europe. It is the UK’s best opportunity to attract a brand new offshore wind sector in the country and I am delighted that such a world leader like DONG have made this commitment.

“Our new Humber University Technical College opens in September and will provide the right skills for the offshore sector and our major infrastructure improvements to support this development are almost complete. AMEP has the real potential to transform the economy across the Humber and with North Lincolnshire pulling out all the stops to support this spectacular development”

Added the Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership Lord Haskins “The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding which holds out the prospect of Dong Energy becoming the first user at AMEP is a significant step forward. It’s a boost to the local economy and confirms that in terms of location, connectivity and infrastructure, we are developing our Enterprise Zone along the right lines.

“Attracting the interest of companies such as Dong endorses that we are the UK’s Energy Estuary with the Humber ports developing as a strong and growing national hub for the new offshore renewables industry.”