New name for renewables initiative

A NEW £6.4million five storey centre aimed at boosting the eastern region's offshore renewable energy industry is set to have its name launched today .

A NEW £6.4million five storey centre aimed at boosting the eastern region's offshore renewable energy industry is set to have its name launched today .

Building work on OrbisEnergy at Ness Point, Lowestoft, is due to get under way this summer, and the team that will oversee its construction is rapidly taking shape.

Originally named the Offshore Renewable Energy Centre, or OREC, the name underwent a re-branding exercise.

Its launch, which takes place at the All-Energy 2006 Conference in Aberdeen today and tomorrow, coincides with Renewables East's appointment this week of Steve Clarke as development director for offshore renewable energy.


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Mr Clarke, who was a former sales director and founding member of REpower UK Ltd, will be responsible for developing opportunities in and around wind, wave and tidal power in the region, and will focus on attracting companies into the new OrbisEnergy facility, which is due to open at the end of 2007.

“It was clear that we needed a key industry player to take this leadership role for the East of England, one with a key proven track record in renewables and one that understood how to take advantages of new market opportunities,” explained James Beal, managing director of Renewables East.

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“When we look at the £8-10billion that will be invested in offshore wind around our coast over the coming decade and further consider the opportunities of wave power to deliver significant renewable energy by 2020, I see Steve leading, supporting and enthusing a whole host of companies that will firmly put this region on the map as the low carbon region - setting an example to the rest of the UK, Europe and the world.”

Mr Clarke said he was “delighted” to have been offered such a dynamic and challenging role.

“I would welcome any opportunity to discuss how OrbisEnergy can assist, direct or simply learn,” he added.

The OrbisEnergy centre is being built with support from the East of England Development Agency,

Government Office for the East of England, Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council.

It will eventually be home to about 30 new and existing offshore renewable energy businesses and will help them in expanding the sector.

Leading architects and engineers Pick Everard, who specialise in environmentally sustainable buildings, have been commissioned to do the detailed design work on the project, in partnership with Suffolk County Council and building contractor Wates.

The OrbisEnergy rebranding exercise was carried out by marketing company Barker Johnson and Peal, and a name and logo were created with help from Design Company of Norwich.

Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA and joint chairman of the new National Working Group on Energy Efficiency, said the centre was “key” to enabling the east of England to capitalise on its vast natural energy resources, and help the region's businesses to seize new opportunities in renewable energy.

“It will encourage inward investment and attract global attention to the research and development opportunities that our region provides,” he said.

“Steve Clark has an enviable track record in this sector and will significantly enhance the development and long term sustainability of OrbisEnergy.”

OrbisEnergy's stand at the Aberdeen conference, which it shares with other key industry partners in the region, features a Ford Focus which runs on bioethanol.

Suffolk County Council's environment and economic development portfolio holder Eddy Alcock said the project would “really benefit” from the knowledge and network connections Mr Clarke had.

“The support OrbisEnergy receives through dedicated work from Steve will not only assist the economic regeneration efforts from 1st East, but will also encourage the development of the supply chain within the renewable energy sector in the East of England,” he said.

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