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How the UK’s East Coast is Leading the Market in Wind Energy

How the UK’s East Coast is Leading the Market in Wind Energy

calendar21 March 2022

​When the first wind turbine was erected in Scotland in 1887, engineers wouldn’t have been able to predict the phenomenon that sustainable electricity has become. After all, oil and gas shortages seemed a distant problem unlikely to affect the working population. The first car had only been invented the year previous, and the UK’s total energy consumption was nowhere near what it is today. 

In November of 1991, however, the first commercial wind farm was constructed in Cornwall in answer to growing electricity prices and difficulty with supply - revolutionising mass scale green energy production. Now, wind energy produces 24% of the UK’s total requirements and powers the equivalent of over 18.5 million homes (Source: NBC News). By the beginning of 2022, 11,037 wind turbines have been installed onshore and offshore - producing a total capacity of over 24.4 GW (Source: Renewable UK). 

Despite early adoption of turbines across the Scottish Highlands, wind energy investment is being directed towards the East Coast, where offshore farms can benefit from the gales funnelling down the English Channel.

Wind Energy on the East Coast

The small town of Hornsea boasts a population of just 8,342 people whilst owning the largest offshore wind farm in the country - one that spreads over 407 sq kilometres. Hornsea Project One creates enough energy to sustain over one million homes across the UK (Source: Ørsted). 

(Source: Windpower Monthly)

As we travel further down the coast, we encounter further sustainable innovation, where the country’s tallest land turbine has resided at Ness Point in Suffolk since 2004 (Source: BBC). With such an extensive spread of wind turbines lining the East Coast - there’s no disputing the influence that the region has on the UK wind energy market (Source: Hornsea Project). 

The Future of the East Coast’s Wind Energy Production

Even now, Ørsted and Global Infrastructure Partners are funding a £6 billion investment into continued infrastructure development - with Hornsea Project Two in the North Sea finishing construction, and Hornsea Project Three in the works (Source: Power Technology). Soon, Hornsea Project Two will outgrow its eldest sibling, reaching a total of 165 wind turbines connected to our energy network by 373km of cables. Combined, these 2 wind farms will have a potential production capacity of 2.52 GW of clean electricity (Source: Ørsted)

RWE’s Investment into the UK’s East Coast

Foreign Direct Investors have also taken notice of the East Coast’s potential for generating incredible amounts of sustainable energy. A pledge from German energy company RWE was recently made to invest 50 billion euros and create 50 GW of capacity by 2030 (Source: RWE). This investment will largely be directed into struggling East Coast cities like Grimsby, which was once a well-known fishing town. This project is already pumping new life into the area by creating thousands of job opportunities, including exciting positions in the GEM Siemens Factory. Additionally, RWE owns a 59% share in the East Coast’s Triton Knoll - 20 miles off the Lincolnshire coast.

(Source: RWE Renewables)

The Growth of the East Coast Wind Energy Market

Development of the UK’s offshore wind energy has led to a monopoly over qualified talent. Investors are establishing farms on British land in order to take advantage of the resources available, making the UK market increasingly attractive. It seems that the Humber Region has been placed at the forefront of leading the world’s transition from traditional oil and gas mining to new forms of energy production. 

E.ON’s Investment into the East Coast

Market leader E.ON has promised a continued focus on wind farm development, having already spent £3.3 billion in UK renewables in the last 10 years. In Spring of 2015, they contributed £4 million towards the Humber Gateway offshore farm - a 73 turbine instalment placed at the previously derelict Grimbsy Fish Docks. It now provides 170,000 homes with sustainable electricity (Source: E.ON).

(Source: E.ON)

Forecasting the World’s Investment in Wind Power Generation

Going forward, the US, Europe, and Asia will need to invest in more sustainable energy wind, tidel, coastal, shore and solar power to support the continued growth of their economies. Their previous reliance on oil in addition to climate change considerations and the sudden boycott of Russian produced energy forces them to consider green alternatives as availability continues to decrease and prices continue to rise. 

Recruitment in the UK’s Wind Energy Market

Worldwide, a trend is forming as wind capacity expands: too many renewable projects and not enough resources to go around. The East Coast has been dubbed the “offshore hub” of the world and maintains the best infrastructure for wind farm development (Source: Ørsted). 

There is now a steady flow in demand for contractors and full-time employees. The biggest challenge many organisations face is attracting candidates from similar markets where skills could be transferable. 

Employees are needed in both offshore placements and in factories like Siemens Gamesa, which has plans to double their production and create 200 new jobs by 2023.

Already, firms like Ørsted have begun teaming with local Universities to run courses relevant to the industry, creating entry-level and graduate positions to entice talent into the market (Source: University of Hull). Schemes are being created to funnel young workers directly into competitive career opportunities - from Environmental Managers right through to Marine Officers. 

Talent Solutions in Wind Energy

Renewable energy companies have to provide training to upskill current available human resources into offshore wind - a timely and expensive undertaking, which means they need to act fast. 

To attract talent, firms can take advantage of the demand for longevity. With uncertainty growing in oil and gas recruitment, candidates desire guaranteed commitment for the years ahead. Sustainable energy investors can benefit from offering long-term work contracts, following the Dogger Bank partnership that offers jobseekers 10-years worth of work. This creates attractive career prospects for candidates who are facing market decline.

Recruitment with EarthStream

EarthStream provides specialist contractors in renewable energy who can rapidly fill labour shortages across the industry. Our extensive network of qualified and experienced candidates allows staff to “hit the ground running”, keeping the rapid development of the UK’s wind energy market on the move. 

EarthStream aims to fill a wide range of renewable energy job vacancies as governments around the world invest in more sustainable energy sources, infrastructures, and technologies. Our in-depth knowledge and worldwide connections mean we not only understand your problems, but also solve them. Speak to one of our experts today

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