East Anglia: RenewableUK and Natural England to host joint offshore wind industry event

Wind turbines in the North Sea. Wind turbines in the North Sea.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
6:00 AM

Today sees the start of a two-day Offshore Wind Industry Seminar in East Anglia which is being jointly staged by Natural England, the body which advises the Government on environmental issues, and RenewableUK, the trade association representing the wind, wave and tidal energy sector.

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More than 60 delegates are expected at the event the first of its kind including offshore wind companies and representatives from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Crown Estate and the Marine Maritime Organisation, as well as Natural England, RenewableUK and the Renewables Training Network (RTN).

Topics for discussion at the seminar, taking place today and tomorrow at Natural England’s offices in Norwich, will focus on how offshore wind energy projects are planned and built to help ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.

Natural England and RenewableUK are working together, holding joint surgeries to provide advice to other delegates. The RTN, the independent, industry-led body which helps workers from other sectors to make the transition into renewables, will also take part in the surgeries, helping to promote job creation.

Natural England will also be promoting its Staff Interchange Programme during the seminar, encouraging its staff to arrange short-term placements and further joint training with developer customers in order to continue to widen understanding of their business and share best practice.

Dave Webster, chief executive of Natural England, said: “We want to help the renewable industry succeed in developing England’s sustainable energy resources and we want to help it to do so in a way that respects the natural beauty and wildlife that we are fortunate enough to have here in this country.

“We have developed a Staff Interchange Programme to reach out to industry to increase our understanding of how industry works so that we can improve the service we offer using a more pragmatic, customer-focused approach. This seminar is a part of that.”

Maf Smith, RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive, who will be speaking on the first day of the seminar, said: “This is a great opportunity for companies involved at the cutting edge of renewables to exchange ideas with a key body working to improve the environment.

“We’re particularly glad to see that Natural England recognises that the offshore wind sector has a crucial role to play in helping to tackle climate change, as well as supporting local communities by creating new green-collar jobs.

“We’ll be looking at a whole variety of issues, from the way the planning process works to how offshore wind technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, with environmental considerations at the forefront of our minds. Given a fair wind, the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry is set to expand exponentially over this decade and the next to become one of the main pillars of our low-carbon energy future, so it’s great to have Natural England on board for the voyage ahead.”

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