Liverpool ready to reap windpower rewards

Liverpool is ready and able to become the UK west coast’s major wind power hub. A report by global consulting engineers Arup published yesterday reveals that port, manufacturing, warehousing and […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Liverpool is ready and able to become the UK west coast’s major wind power hub.

A report by global consulting engineers Arup published yesterday reveals that port, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution assets are already in place to generate growth in renewable energy.

Merseyside is in particular targeting Rounds 2 and 3 of the Irish Sea Zone, a proposed wind farm development worth £15bn.

The installation is intended to be built 70km offshore and would require significant engineering and manufacturing expertise which is already in place, according to The Mersey Partnership which commissioned the report from Arup.

Key assets identified in the report include the Port of Liverpool and shipbuilder Cammell Laird, which has drawn up plans for a major development of its shipyard in Birkenhead to create a huge service hub for the off shore wind industry.

The Mersey Partnership’s director of investment Mark Basnett said: “There are established businesses and companies in the private sector that can provide a flexible, reliable and low carbon solution for the sector.

“Liverpool City Region can become west coast UK’s Aberdeen for the offshore wind industry.”

In terms of grabbing a share of the wind power spoils, the UK battleground is very much between northeast and northwest.

The southeast may boast the English Channel, but as the busiest shipping lane in the world, it offers almost no scope for offshore developments.

The northeast of England is being eyed by developers, as is the North Sea off Scotland, but those waters threaten a clash with oil and gas explorers and producers.

Which leaves the northwest poised to cash in on the renewable energies of the Irish Sea, which already accommodates the Burbo Bank scheme off Crosby.

Last month a report stated that the northwest is expected to make a major contribution to the UK meeting its renewable energy targets.

The report by the Northwest Climate Change Partnership revealed that Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire are set to produce 30% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.