Humber region celebrated as “global leader” in offshore wind at annual conference in Hull

Hull and the Humber was hailed as “a beacon for the energy sector” as hundreds of delegates from the offshore wind industry descended on the city.

Corrine Barry giving her keynote speech

Delivering the keynote speech at Offshore Wind Connections 2024, Corrine Barry, UK East Coast Director for Net Zero at RWE UK, said: “At the turn of the century none of the UK’s electricity was provided by offshore wind. Now 27% of all the UK’s offshore wind turbines are here in the Humber. It’s phenomenal. The Humber is a global leader.

“What truly sets the Humber apart is its collaborative spirit. We set the standards for others to watch.” 

Iain Butterworth, chair of Humber Marine & Renewables who organise the annual conference, said: “Looking back to 15 years ago, we were all wondering if we would get a slice of the offshore wind pie. Well here we are now, seeing the success for the region.”

He continued: “We know there are some challenges with skills and infrastructure but we’re a maritime and engineering region and we’re here to collaborate.”

Global business leaders from companies such as Orsted, RWE and Siemens Gamesa attended the event, which was hosted at DoubleTree by Hilton, alongside local organisations such as Humber Freeport, Hull City Council and the Hull College.

The conference and exhibition, which saw over 50 stalls ranging from workwear and safety equipment to ship repair and port logistics, is now in its 11th year and has grown in stature to become one of the leading and best-known UK offshore wind events.

The event saw expert panel discussions on supply chains, innovation and skills, with speakers from groups such as the Department for Business and Trade, Humber Energy Board and the Hull and East Yorkshire Careers Hub. 

Speaking as part of a panel on the role of offshore wind in reaching net zero and opportunities for the Humber, Emma Toulson from Orsted said: “This industry is going to grow and we need to make sure we get the best out of it for Humber businesses, that people here have the best shot at jobs in it and local companies have the best shot of contracts from it and the ports are kept busy.”

Jane Cooper, Offshore Wind Director for RenewableUK, agreed that “the Humber is in the right place at the right time for this journey”.

She said: “It’s about everyone, not just the big organisations – there are hundreds of small and medium businesses who are part of this success.”

The conference was followed by the annual Humber Renewables Awards Dinner.