Energy Minister Visits South West to Highlight Renewable Energy (UK)
Energy Minister Charles Hendry visited the South West of the country to highlight renewable energy related activity and investment in the region.
At a Business “Mini Expo” Charles was shown a snapshot of what Bristol was doing, from Marine energy to sustainable banking and biomass.
The Minister also heard views from Expo participants on DECC’s Feed-in Tariff consultation, and Renewable Obligation (RO) banding before taking part in a roundtable discussion to hear more thoroughly what Renewable Industry representatives had to say.
At Tidal Generation Limited (TGL), the Bristol based Rolls-Royce subsidiary, Charles met with key staff and was shown the control room which operates the company’s tidal stream turbine in Orkney. The Tidal Turbine exports power to feed in to the National Grid and so far has has successfully generated and fed over 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electrical power.
Before leaving the region, Charles met with Oxford and Bristol University academics at the opening of a new Nuclear Research Centre at the University of Bristol. The Centre was created in response to the increase in interest and demand from students in the field of Nuclear, not least because new nuclear build provides significant job creation opportunities in the UK.
Based on recent analysis it is estimated there will be up to 30,000 new jobs created by new nuclear build (which includes jobs in the supply chain and construction sectors, together with numbers needed for operation) by 2025. It is envisaged that at its peak each power plant including twin reactors will create up to 5000 construction jobs.
At the launch of the Centre, Charles Hendry said
“This centre will ensure that the UK remains the vanguard in deploying the next generation of new nuclear power stations across Europe and ensures that the UK and the local economy can derive maximum benefit from these opportunity…
“There is great potential in the growth of the UK Nuclear Industry. But we are all very aware that 70% of the current UK nuclear workforce is set to retire by 2025 and realise the challenges and skills gaps that this will bring to an industry set to grow. These are highly skilled jobs and Research Centres like this one are key to ensuring that we can meet the quality and capacity of skills that industry will need, to deliver such an ambitious programme.
“We must ensure that the UK has the appropriately skilled workforce to deliver a strong nuclear industry that is safe, professional and cost effective. Centre’s like this one with strong relationships with Industry, the Regulators and the local communities will help ensure that we can do this.”
Source: environmental-expert, November 10, 2011; Image: charleshendry