Irish Sea Wind Farm Opportunity for Liverpool City Region

Today’s report has been prepared by global consulting engineers Arup. It identifies many of the region’s existing port, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution assets, setting out how they can be combined to make a compelling case for the creation of a major supply chain to serve Rounds 2 & 3 Irish Sea Zone wind farm development.

The developments proposed in this Zone alone are estimated to be worth £15 billion to the UK economy. Overall, UK offshore wind power industry investment is expected to exceed £100bn in the next decade.

Developing, building and maintaining the proposed Irish Sea installation – in deepwater 70km offshore – will be a huge undertaking requiring a wide range of engineering and manufacturing expertise. A sophisticated support and logistics infrastructure will be required – providing the potential for the creation of a Liverpool City Region-based supply chain creating thousands of new jobs.

Round 3 Irish Sea Zone has the potential to generate 4.2 Gigawatts (GW) of electricity from a total of 850 wind turbines.

To place the proposed development in context, the existing Burbo Bank scheme off Crosby accommodates 25 wind turbines generating 90 Megawatts (MW) of power.

Key City Region assets identified in the report include:

· Port of Liverpool

· Cammell Laird

· 3MG / Stobart Park at Halton

· Port Wirral

· Former Bridgewater Paper Mill, Ellesmere Port

· Port Ince

In addition, the report cites the City Region’s extensive research and development; training and marine engineering skills as a major asset that will appeal to multi-national energy and engineering firms wanting to develop the recently-licensed Irish Sea Zone.

Plans have been drawn up for a major development of the Cammell Laird shipyard site in Birkenhead to create a vast service hub for the off shore wind industry.

Low Carbon Economy is designated as one of four key sectors for growth in the City Region’s Economy.[1]

Through its Membership base and network TMP has created a Low Carbon Committee comprising private sector representatives from businesses and partners in the sector. The Committee is overseeing development and implementation of a strategy to grow the Low Carbon Economy.

TMP Director of Investment Mark Basnett said: "Liverpool City Region has an immensely strong asset base on which to build an integrated supply chain for Irish Sea Offshore Wind development. One of our biggest strengths is that the key sites identified need limited adaptation to service offshore wind industry requirements.

"There are established businesses and companies in the private sector – many of them TMP members – that can provide a flexible, reliable and low carbon solution for the sector."

He added: "Our primary task now is to market these assets to the players in this global industry. We aim to make a compelling business case for them to invest here in Liverpool City Region, creating new jobs and new opportunities, as they develop the shore side hub that will support their huge undertakings offshore.

"Liverpool City Region can become west coast UK’s Aberdeen for the offshore wind industry."

TMP and City Region partners Cammell Laird and Peel Ports, have recently showcased the region’s potential at major trade shows in China, Germany and the UK. Liverpool will next year host one of the sector’s major events when the Renewable UK Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition takes place at the BT Convention Centre (June 29-30, 2011).

Mark Basnett added: "Our private sector Members and partners in this sector have a pivotal role to play in helping to attract the size and scale of investment that will be required to develop, build and maintain the Irish Sea Zone.

"And the benefits for their businesses and the wider economy of the region, in terms of new investment and job opportunities, could be immense."

Amanda Lyne, Chair of TMP’s Low Carbon Economy Committee said: "This report sets out the significant range of existing City Region assets that comprise an integrated supply chain solution.

"Co-ordinated and effective development of this offer could provide the City Region with long term economic benefits derived from a Low Carbon Economy."

Dennis Henderson of Peel Ports said: "We consider the Low Carbon Economy will be an important contributor to our business and also our parent company Peel Group.

"We believe the region has many attributes to provide an offshore wind hub in terms of maritime location, proximity to Irish Sea wind farms, available sites, logistics and a history in manufacturing and engineering."

He added: "This combined with a willingness of business and the public sector in this region to work together can capture the potential. This is enabling us to promote a strong message to offshore developers and manufacturers involved in the supply chain."