Charlie Spencer, Chairman and owner of Hull-based specialist engineering business Spencer Group, which is at the forefront of green energy developments in the Humber region, today said the go-ahead for Siemens wind turbine manufacturing operations would unleash “unprecedented investment” in the area.
Today global manufacturing giant Siemens announced it would proceed with a previously announced turbine construction, assembly and service facility at Hull’s Alexandra Dock, plus a new rotor blade manufacturing facility at nearby Paull. The total investment by Siemens and landowner Associated British Ports is £310m and the facilities will create up to 1,000 jobs directly, with additional employment during construction and indirectly in the supply chain.
Mr Spencer said: “This is not the start of the renewables revolution in the Humber region. Very significant investments have already been made and we are proud to have worked on some of those projects, but it is certainly the news we have all being waiting for.
“I would expect Siemens to now move forward rapidly to create what will be the first such facilities in the country and establish the Humber as the heart of an entirely new industry for the UK. It will be the catalyst for unprecedented investment across the Humber estuary.
“When a company as substantial and respected at Siemens says this is the right place for it to invest, everyone takes note. Siemens’ global partners in the offshore wind sector will want to join them here, creating an enormously powerful cluster of manufacturing and engineering expertise.
“Given that the UK offshore wind market has the potential to be the biggest in the world, the Humber can become a global leader in maritime renewables operations and expertise.”
Mr Spencer is also a member of the City Leadership Board which is pushing forward Hull’s ambitious City Plan. The plan aims to create 7,500 jobs over the next 10 years with the Siemens developments and associated supply chains a major driver of new employment.
He added: “This news has given a massive boost to the City Plan and its ambitious objectives. The plan is aimed at transforming the city and the lives of its citizens. Nothing is better for prosperity and wellbeing than jobs and the Siemens investment will bring hundreds of new skilled opportunities with many more in the supply chain and from the positive ripple effect of such large-scale investment.
“Our challenge now is to deliver the skilled, employable workforce for Siemens and other investors so that as many as possible of the new jobs go to local people. The good news is that employers and training providers have been gearing up for this opportunity for some time, so this region is well placed to reap the benefit in well-paid, skilled and long-term employment.”
Mr Spencer paid tribute to the city’s MPs, Hull City Council, East Riding Council and Associated British Ports for their work in securing Siemens. “I was at the annual Humber Chamber of Commerce dinner in 2012 when a senior Siemens executive referred to Hull’s ‘dream team’. He was right and they have now pulled off a dream investment for the city and wider region.”
Spencer Group’s activities in the renewables sector include:
• Energy Works, a £150m green and clean energy recovery plant planned for the east bank of the River Hull;
• Creation of a facility at the Port of Hull to load sustainable biomass for transportation to Drax Power Station, the first part of a £150m investment in the Humber Ports to support Drax’s biomass conversion plans;
• And installing the civil infrastructure and structure of a new sub-station at Hedon, east of Hull, to connect power from the £736m Humber Gateway offshore wind farm to the National Grid.
Spencer Group’s exceptional green credentials were recognised by the company being named Humber Renewables Large Business of the Year in the Humber Renewables Awards 2013 and winning the Best Project award, for the Port of Hull biomass facility, in the 2014 awards.