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A-list actors join green groups and industry to champion offshore wind in Westminster

ESTEEMED actors Peter Capaldi and Emma Thompson have given their voices to the burgeoning offshore wind industry which is revitalising the Humber economy.

A-list actors join green groups and industry to champion offshore wind in Westminster

A campaign has just launched in Westminster tube station, bringing together a huge coalition of companies and civil society organisations – including Greenpeace, WWF and the Marine Conservation Society. It has taken over walls and ticket gates with posters highlighting the message that electricity from offshore wind is half the price it was just two years ago.

And the stars of the screen are at the centre of a campaign for an energy source that has brought thousands of jobs to the area, North and South Bank. 

Capaldi, whose credits also aptly include The Thick of It and Local Hero,  said: “Great Britain is the world leader in a technology which can generate huge amounts of energy without using any fuel. It’s safe, secure, zero-carbon and economical. In fact it has halved in price in just under two years. That’s 50 per cent off. It’s a great deal. And it may just save the planet. The future of energy in the UK is offshore wind power.”

Bringing Sense and Sensibility to a station used by hundreds of MPs daily, Emma Thompson has also visited an offshore wind farm as part of the campaign, which emerged as the latest subsidy auction round revealed the significant progress made in cost reduction, that surprised even the keenest industry observers. 

Thompson said: “It’s the most fantastic deal for the UK and it’s creating thousands of jobs in regions where unemployment has been, of late, very high. It’s the best news I’ve had in years. It’s creating jobs, it’s regenerating coastal areas, and it’s providing clean, beautiful green energy for us, our children and our grandchildren.”

A YouGov poll commissioned by Greenpeace and released today, shows that offshore wind is by far the most popular large scale technology for the UK’s energy future, three times more popular than nuclear and an astonishing 20 times more popular than gas. The results were consistent over age, sex, class, party allegiance, and the poll even united leavers and remainers.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “We’ve known for a long time that renewable energy was much more popular with the British public than any of the alternatives. Now that offshore wind is more than cost-competitive with every other energy option, we have a way forward for UK energy policy. This should please ministers across the spectrum from industry, the environment and the treasury. Even No 10 should be popping the champagne at this great news.”

Grimsby’s biggest investor, Dong Energy, and the UK trade body Renewable UK, have added their voices too.

Matthew Wright, managing director at Dong Energy UK, said: “Offshore wind presents a massive opportunity for the UK. Costs are falling rapidly, long-term and highly-skilled jobs are being created across the north of England and the UK supply chain is going from strength to strength. The industry has already come such a long way and we truly believe it can become the backbone of the UK’s energy transformation. We’re seeing the benefits of commitment to this technology by successive governments and what’s so exciting is that there’s still a lot more to come.”

Earlier this month he told how the cost reduction was a breakthrough moment for the creation of thousands of jobs.

RenewableUK’s executive director, Emma Pinchbeck, added: “Offshore wind has rewritten the rulebook, sending costs tumbling down, which is great news for consumers. As new offshore wind is now cheaper than new gas and nuclear, it’s the natural technology of choice to play a leading role in the UK’s modern clean energy mix. 

“Offshore wind is also a major industry, providing an economic lifeline to ports and seaside towns around our coastline and throughout the country as the multi-billion pound supply chain grows.”

In Hull the huge Siemens blade plant and pre-installation assembly activity has brought hundreds of roles, following the gradual growth in operations and maintenance activity that is transforming Port of Grimsby East and the town's Royal Dock. 

Dong Energy is making Grimsby its east coast hub, with Hornsea Project One, and Two - the latter the giant farm that has brought the price drop to the fore - joining the five other arrays already managed from there. 1GW of installed capacity was passed earlier this year, with a pipeline now leading to 4GW at least.   

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