The Humber and Rhode Island share a pioneering spirit, bringing a determination to ensure that both regions benefit from the offshore wind industry, through the creation of new jobs for a skilled workforce, a strong supply chain through innovation, investment and the production of clean green energy.
Strong links between the Humber and Rhode Island began in 2018 when a delegation from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (RICC) visited the UK and spent time in Hull to understand the region’s offshore wind industry success. Reciprocal visits followed, building a long-lasting transatlantic relationship.
Offshore wind in the USA is poised for tremendous growth in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions over the next decade driven by a combination of policy enthusiasm at the federal and state level, dramatic reductions in cost of electricity and a flood of interest in the economic value and low-carbon energy potential.
Rhode Island, the U.S. state to introduce the nation’s first offshore wind farm and the Humber share many similarities, such as the challenge they face as well as opportunities and both have a reputation for resilience and determination. Keen to understand the challenges in developing an effective strategy early in the development of the sector, Rhode Island looked to the Humber to learn from its experience in building the UK’s leading cluster in offshore wind.
The Humber has been a source of expert knowledge to help Rhode Island shift away from fossil fuels to develop America’s first wind farm.
In 2019, Rhode Island formed a three-year partnership with Aura and Team Humber Marine Alliance (THMA) to help grow their renewable energy sector.
Providing advice and support around the lessons learnt in the Humber and the collaborative approach that the Humber has built up over the last 10 years is something that Rhode Island wanted to adapt and replicate.
To facilitate this exchange of lessons learnt and experience between the two partners, the joint Aura and THMA team carried out a research and analysis programme as well as a visit to Rhode Island in July 2019.
The combination of THMA’s long-history and involvement in building the Humber’s offshore wind capabilities over the last decade and the Aura partnership’s unrivalled strength and its role as a catalyst for collaboration is providing Rhode Island with insight, advice and support to seize the opportunities presented by this new energy source.
The resulting report and recommendations were based on research as well as a five-day visit to Rhode Island by members of the THMA and Aura team. Four key areas were analysed, gaps and challenges identified and recommendations made: the supply chain; marketing; skills & training and, finally, research and academia.
The collaboration between Aura and THMA team brought together their expertise and knowledge of the offshore wind sector – from engineering and project management, through to supply chain development, skills and training as well as policy, marketing and stakeholder engagement. The visit provided opportunities for knowledge exchange, discussion and shared enthusiasm to help Rhode Island capitalise on its potential to grow its offshore wind industry as quickly as is feasible.
Rhode Island has since gone from strength to strength in establishing itself as the US location for the offshore wind industry. Rhode Island has attracted significant investment and created a thriving ecosystem to deliver the vital components needed for a successful and flourishing industry.