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Taiwan’s wind wish to be made in Grimsby?

CLEETHORPES MP Martin Vickers has just returned from a Westminster delegation to Taiwan, having been convinced to go because of the appetite for offshore wind.

Taiwan’s wind wish to be made in Grimsby?

The Conservative backbencher was one of seven MPs to take the five-day trip, and told how an imminent visit to the UK to foster links and knowledge had prompted his decision.

Officially part of China, Britain doesn’t have an embassy, but a British office, where Mr Vickers also found his host to be a former Cleethorpes schoolgirl! 

He said: “The reason why I went was that they are looking at developing renewable energy, particularly offshore, and we have got some expertise in that. 

“Dong Energy and Siemens, to name but two, are already active over there, and don’t need help from me, but I spoke to businesses representatives at the British office there and we looked at possibilities of SME involvement in the supply chain. They said that is where the potential is for smaller businesses.”

A government delegation has already met North East Lincolnshire Council leader Councillor Ray Oxby, and chief executive Rob Walsh, at an event in London, and it is hoped the delegation can be brought here, either this autumn or next spring.

“They know we are working on this and are hoping to arrange a visit,” Mr Vickers said. “They are keen to engage and desperately keen to expand their contacts within the renewable sector. 

They are phasing out nuclear capacity by 2025, and they have to replace the generating capacity. Like us with the North Sea, they are an island surrounded by water, offering great possibilities.”

Taiwan, which lies 180km off the eastern coast of China, is surrounded by the East China Sea to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait directly to the south, and the South China Sea to the south west. 

“They were very aware of Hornsea, and what has been developed in the North Sea. They knew we were building the world’s largest wind farm, they are very in touch,” Mr Vickers said.

He is now liaising with Grimsby Renewables Partnership ahead of a potential visit.

“I want to make sure our people are aware, Mr Vickers said. “I want to underline the opportunities there. Virtually every minister, from the president down, their opening remarks were a strong commitment to develop renewable energy. They know we are doing the same. It seems to be a natural relationship we can exploit.”

It was Mr Vickers’ first visit to Asia and he was impressed, having heard of Hong Kong and Singapore’s energy. 

“It was fascinating to go out there, I got the feel it was a dynamic, go-ahead place,” he said.

His title clearly attracted interest too. The British representative there, Catherine Wilson, spent part of her childhood in Cleethorpes. 

“She went to Thrunscoe and Bursar Street schools and lived in Daggett Road while her father worked in the National Health Service,” he said.

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