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Real Opportunity to Invest in US Renewables

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Language is Everything and the World Trade Centre Hull & Humber recently held a Doing Business on the US East Coast event. The seminar, in late October, concentrated on how companies are investing in offshore wind and renewables in both the US and the UK.

Representatives from Virginia Offshore Wind and Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (HREDA) provided an in-depth, insightful analysis on why Virginia, and Hampton Roads specifically, has great potential for Hull and Humber companies in maritime services, marine industry and offshore wind . Hampton Roads is well known as a major hub for the naval, civil and leisure marine sectors. With five shipyards and three major port terminals, it has a wealth of manufacturers and suppliers from Volvo Penta and Fincantieri to BAE and Maersk. HREDA has a strong track record in helping UK companies establish themselves in the USA, advising on business costs, personnel, tax, property and many other issues.

Chris Gullickson from the organisation said: “The ex-military population in Virginia (second largest in the US), a strong Navy and Coast Guard presence and the Port of Virginia -one of the largest container ports and coal terminals - means the region has internationally oriented services and expert support in place”.

Carol Meredith is the assistant director of development from City of Newport News and talked about Virginia’s competitive position in the offshore wind energy sector; with their prime geographic positioning to serve new US developments up and down the East Coast. She went on to discuss how advanced manufacturers already have a heavy presence in the area, including Areva, Alstrom, Siemens and General Electric. She said: “The port is set to employ eleven thousand people over the next five years, partnering with local universities to provide higher education in power electronics and get people to invest in the area”.

As well as providing an insight into the way Virginia does business in the renewables and offshore sectors, the event also highlighted how the US are seeking European expertise in these areas. In the UK the renewables and offshore sectors are fast developing with up to fourteen billion pounds to be invested in Humber based offshore wind projects by 2015. With this rapid development the UK has become the world’s leading producer of offshore wind power with the Humber forming the centre of the UK supply chain. Whilst there is expertise rapidly developing to service North Sea offshore wind farms there is real opportunity to export to the developing US marketplace.

The latter half of the seminar therefore centred on doing business in the USA, and UK businesses investing abroad. Key speakers included Sam Pick from the Renewables Network, Jonathan Rollison from Team Humber Marine Alliance and Ronald Martin from HSBC who talked about local companies’ success and expertise in renewable and offshore wind in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Sam Pick said: “The UK is the world’s leader in offshore wind energy production”. When asked if the UK can export he replied: “Yes, the UK’s at the forefront of the world’s offshore wind development. USA development is four to five years behind, therefore we can leverage our skills and expertise to build a successful partnership. It’s about working together to create a unified offering”.


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World Trade Centre
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