The government has approved plans for a 1.3km quay, along with facilities for building and assembling offshore wind turbines, in North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.
Work on the £450m plan will begin early next year after suffering delays. Peter Stephenson, founder and executive chairman of Able, the company behind the plans, said the development of the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) has the potential to “transform the future of Humber”.
AMEP is expected to directly create 4,000 local jobs and it is hoped the development will act as a catalyst and result in a cluster of renewable energy companies, both large and small, in the area.
Speaking on Thursday, Stephenson said, “During the public hearings into our plans for AMEP, its significance was compared to the impact of the Nissan development in the north-east and this is no exaggeration.”
The decision to approve the multi-million pound project follows scrutiny across all aspects of the development. Able UK has had to develop a £60m package protecting the surrounding environment and wildlife, following concerns about the facilities impact.
Stephenson added, “The major international companies needed to know that the UK was serious in its commitment to the future of offshore wind development. Today’s approval – coupled with the government’s support confirmed in the recent autumn statement – is just the message they required.”
The improved subsidy regime for offshore wind projects could allow the industry to compete with fossil fuels by the end of the decade, a leading developer of wind farms has previously said. However, Bloomberg recently commented that measures to attract wind investment are insufficient.
A study commissioned by WWF-UK and Greenpeace found that the UK’s economy would be £20 billion better off by 2030 if investment focused on offshore wind rather than gas.
The AMEP plans represent a boost to the Humber region, which is still in the running to play home to a major Siemens wind turbine manufacturing plant in Hull, which was recently unveiled as city of culture for 2017.