Siemens has announced its decision to invest £160 million in wind turbine production and installation facilities in Yorkshire, creating more than 1,000 new jobs in the Hull area.
The revised plan will be spread across two sites comprising the previously announced Green Port Hull project construction, assembly and service facility and a new rotor blade manufacturing facility in nearby Paull, in East Riding.
Siemens is investing £160 million across the two locations and its port partner Associated British Ports is investing a further £150 million in the Green Port Hull development. The investment will provide a huge boost to the UK’s offshore wind industry and the Humber region. The combined investments of £310 million will create up to 1,000 jobs directly, with additional jobs during construction and indirectly in the supply chain. The much-anticipated investment is a landmark moment for the UK offshore wind industry.
A member of the managing board of Siemens AG and CEO of the energy sector, Michael Suess said, “Our decision to construct a production facility for offshore wind turbines in England is part of our global strategy. We invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity. The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognises the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production. The offshore wind market in Great Britain has high growth rates, with an even greater potential for the future”.
The UK government is subject to the 2008 climate change act, which is established as being the world’s first legally binding climate change target. The aim with this act is to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from the 1990 baseline by 2050. Moving to a more energy efficient, low-carbon economy will help the government meet this target. It will also help the UK become less reliant on imported fossil fuels and less exposed to higher energy prices in the future.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey on the announcement said, “This deal is excellent news for the people of Hull and the Humber, the UK, the wind industry, and our energy security. We are attracting investment by backing enterprise with better infrastructure and lower taxes. As well as helping to keep the lights on and putting more than 1,000 people in work, this deal means we will help to keep consumer bills down as we invest in homegrown green energy and reduce our reliance on foreign imports. This deal shows our strategy for offshore wind is working; bringing investment, green jobs and growth, and helping keep Britain the number one country in the world for offshore wind.”
Price is an important factor, as in the UK much of the general public has questioned the prices of energy, with many calling for them to be lowered because they feel it is taking too much of their budgets. Many of the ‘big six’ UK energy firms raised their tariffs at the end of last year.
Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan has said, “Prices have risen more than they should have, we believe, over the last few years.”
Ofgem, believes the ‘big six’ might be making excess profits and should be doing better for their customers. They have referred them to the competition and markets authority. The ‘big six’ energy suppliers are British Gas, SSE, Npower, EDF, Scottish Power and E.ON. They have control of around 95 per cent of Britain’s energy supply market. Their energy retail profits have soared from £233m in 2009 to £1.1bn in 2012.
However, according to figures from the department of energy & climate change, the UK is the fifth cheapest market out of 15 major European nations, excluding Spain, in terms of electricity prices. In terms of gas prices, Britain is the second cheapest market in Europe after Finland.
Also, energy supplier SSE says it will freeze domestic gas and electricity prices at their current levels until 2016.
Fixed-term energy deals are becoming an increasingly attractive option as prices increase. Paying bills by direct debit and sending off regular meter readings to ensure you are paying for actual usage can also help customers to save money.
Which other ways could the government or energy organisations help lower energy prices?