UK: Siemens Factory Approval Motivation for Small Businesses

  • Business & Finance

UK: Siemens Factory Approval Motivation for Small Businesses

Approval of plans for a Siemens wind turbine factory in Hull, UK, should be a “wake-up call” for small businesses, according to an industry group.

Directors of the Renewables Network – which represents more than 250 companies across the green energy supply chain – have welcomed a decision by the city’s planning authority today to grant building permission for the multi-million pound assembly plant.

But experts from the Humber-based private sector group say the move should be a catalyst for small firms in the north of England and the UK still considering entering the renewables market.

Sam Pick, business development director of the Renewables Network, said: “The approval of the plans for a Siemens wind turbine plant in Hull represents the single, biggest milestone yet in the emergence of the Humber as a renewables hub.

“It is a hugely positive development and a decision the region as a whole, as well as the industry, has been wanting and working towards for many months.

“But the hard work really begins now. The momentum that got the Humber this far, in its rebirth as a centre for green energy, cannot stop.

“The planning decision has to act as a wake-up call to businesses across the area that activity in this industry is well underway.

“Firms need to be even more determined, prepared and clear on their capabilities to grab this historic opportunity and not miss securing a role in the renewables supply chain.”

Siemens’ application to build an assembly plant at Green Port Hull, on the edge of the Humber estuary, was today given formal approval by the city council’s planning committee. The proposal, which was jointly submitted with port operator Associated British Ports, centres on a factory that will put together turbines destined for huge wind farms in the North Sea.

More than 700 people will be employed at the factory, with thousands more jobs created indirectly through a vast supply chain.

The Renewables Network’s member organisations are drawn from every area of the industry, including engineering companies, law firms and training providers. The group runs bespoke capability audits and readiness assessments to help businesses prepare for, and enter, the green energy market.

Mr Pick said: “What the capability audits have proved is that businesses in the Humber do, potentially, have many of the skills required by the renewables industry.

“But this is a global marketplace and our businesses need to hone their competencies and be better at projecting these in a highly competitive arena.

“Attracting Siemens to Hull has put the Humber on a world stage when it comes to renewables, but it is now up to the region to meet the challenge and stay there.”

The Renewables Network believes the planning decision will also provide a much-needed confidence boost for both the industry and the Humber’s business community.

John Britton, a director of the network, said: “The news that this development has cleared the planning hurdles is confirmation the Humber’s renewable energy ambitions are now ‘over the starting line’ and the long-awaited progress to achievement can really get under way.

“In anticipation of this, so much has been happening to prepare the ground for the companies who will become the supply chain success stories.

“However, it is now the time for all companies who have the ambition to succeed to make their plans to meet the requirements of this sector.” 

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Offshore WIND staff, May 10, 2012; Image: Siemens

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