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Lincolnshire to play part in region's energy revolution, says John Prescott

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: May 07, 2012

  • An artist's impression of how Hull's Alexandra Dock will be transformed by Siemens' plans for a wind turbine assembly plant. Former deputy prime minister John Prescott, below, says Lincolnshire firms, such as Martin Quinlan's Aarco Renewable Technologies will benefit from the development

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Former deputy prime minister John Prescott believes Lincolnshire will have an important role in the Humber region's energy "revolution".

The politician thinks "both sides of the bank have a part to play" in developing the area, which is set to become a European centre for renewables.

Lord Prescott spoke to the Echo following a conference at the KC Stadium in Hull on Tuesday, May 1.

He said: "With the Humber, it's as much about Lincolnshire as it is about the north bank.

"It's about an estuarial development that will benefit both sides. It's an exciting opportunity."

The former Hull East MP told delegates at Renewing the Humber there could be benefits for businesses, educational institutions and people looking for work.

It comes after Siemens announced plans to build an £80 million wind turbine factory in Hull.

Experts have claimed up to 25,000 jobs could be created by developments in the region, with openings for Lincolnshire businesses to benefit from further investment.

An estimated £15 billion investment is being put into the Humber region for offshore wind power alone.

And activity in biomass and tidal technologies is expected to follow.

Mr Prescott added educational institutions in the county could be called on to educate the workforce needed for the developments.

"It's a highly competitive world and if we can train our people we can be a centre for the industry," he said.

"We need to use educational establishments, north and south, and put them together to benefit both sides of the estuary."

Topics covered during the day included what renewable energy means for the future of the Humber, planning issues, supply chain opportunities and the need for skills and training.

Sam Pick, director of business support body Renewables Network, said there was a "big skills shortage" in the UK's green industry.

"In this country there is a real problem that we are not training young people with the skills we need," he said.

"It needs to happen now and it's not happening quickly enough."

The boss of Lincoln firm Aarco Renewable Technologies spoke about micro-generation opportunities in solar technology.

Martin Quinlan explained homes and businesses could still receive a strong return on investment for the kit, despite national installation numbers dropping by 94 per cent in April.

The changes came after the Government reduced incentives for producing electricity with solar photovoltaic panels.

"All doom and gloom, you might think, but there are still some sound investments to be made," he said.

"Manufacturers slashed their prices, PV companies followed suit and dropped the price of installs.

"So returns of 10 per cent are still well and truly viable for domestic properties and even 15 per cent for larger commercial installs."

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