US delegation delights at Humber welcome

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 21 Sep 2016

SENIOR figures in the US delegation that has descended on the Humber have spoken highly of what they have seen and understood.

The pace at which the Energy Estuary has ‘mastered’ a fledgling industry impressed the legislators from the Eastern seaboard, where grand plans to harness offshore wind are now to be played out.

The party joined with host organisation Team Humber Marine Alliance, Grimsby Renewables Partnership and industry and civic representatives at The Deep in Hull, following a north bank tour which took in the university, Siemens’ blade factory, the wider port and MMS’s vessel building capability.

Today they visit E.on and Dong Energy in Grimsby, as well as HCF Catch in Stallingborough and Humber UTC in Scunthorpe, learning of the transformational effect offshore wind investment can bring.

Having been officially welcomed by Camilla Carlbom, vice chairman of Team Humber Marine Alliance, Patricia Haddad, Speaker Pro Tempore in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, said: “It has been amazing. I can speak for my colleagues and say we have got far more than we ever anticipated. I am left with a sense of information overload, but also with so many questions we can now turn around and take back home with us to make sure that in our process we take advantage of the knowledge you have offered us and do a really good job.

“We feel like the student who has had a really good teacher. I look forward to the next  few days, what you have done is incredible. It has just been wonderful. We look forward to creating some contacts, some partnerships and hopefully at some point, being able to see some of you on the other side of ‘the pond’!”

Senator Michael Rodrigues, representing Massachusetts State, said: “When trips like this are successful you come with 100 questions and leave with 300. We have made great contacts and great friends and found the right people to call to answer our questions and help us work through this very exciting opportunity.

“We need to know how in our community, in our region, the people we represent can best take advantage of this new industry. We have learned a tremendous amount and I know we are creating long standing, fruitful, bilateral relationships.”

Dong Energy UK chairman Brent Cheshire and Race Bank construction manager Jason Ledden were top table guests at the dinner, so too Jon Beresford from Humber Gateway and Grimsby MP Melanie Onn. BostonRix Wind Ltd and Specialist Marine Consultant Ltd sponsored the dinner.

Baroness Redfern, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, was joined by senior officer Marcus Walker, with Humber LEP vice chairman Stephen Savage and  Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce international trade lead Pauline Wade also present. Phil Hall represented Hull City Council, with Prof Amar Ramudhin, director of the Logistics Institute at Hull University Business School there too.

Delegate Sally Jameson, of the Maryland House of Delegates, said: “I am so impressed with the information that each and everyone of you shares so readily. It is just an incredible exchange and I have learned so much. Thank you for helping to support our own programme.”

Dr Bruce Williamson, commissioner of Maine Public Utilities Commission, said he was taken with the pace of development of the industry, explaining how steel towns and coal mining areas of the US still “languished in poverty” 35 years to 40 years on. “I have learnt an awful lot here,” he said. “I am impressed with how much has been accomplished in a relatively short period of time.”