Delegates Go Dutch on windpower link

DELEGATES at a pioneering UK-Dutch conference were urged to build on flourishing trade links between the countries to meet challenges posed by the rapidly emerging offshore windpower industry in the North Sea.

“We want to create an open dialogue between Dutch and British companies to encourage a fruitful partnership and facilitate growth on both sides of the North Sea,” Pim Waldeck, Ambassador for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, told 150 business leaders at the sell-out event.

“As neighbours, we may not have common borders but we share the rolling waves of the North Sea. We can share the challenges of the future.”

The Going Dutch conference, hosted by the Dutch Embassy and co-organised by EEEGR (the East of England Energy Group) at the M�ller Centre, Cambridge, also featured four specialist sessions with expert panelists discussing turbine design, foundations, port infrastructure and innovations in the supply chain.

There were also more than 300 “speed dating” sessions which allowed delegates to talk head-to-head and build relationships with major companies such as Eneco, RES Group, Siemens, Vattenfall, KBR, RWE Innogy and Ballast Nedam.

David Charlesworth, senior external relations manager for the Crown Estate, outlined opportunities in the wind energy industry with licences to produce 49GW of windpower in UK waters – 32GW of them from the Round 3 agreements.

The latest licences would raise new challenges for the sector as they moved into much deeper waters and bigger sites, such as Dogger Bank, which is half the size of Wales.

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John Best, EEEGR chief executive, said he was thrilled at the success of the event and believed results would follow.

“It was much more than talk. Business was being done; the British and the Dutch were trading,” he added.