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Hydropower supply chain to spark jobs boost


Posted on 12/04/2013 by Wayne Brophy FCILT

Employment opportunities are set to be boosted within the UK tidal energy supply chain thanks to the opening of a new Siemens test centre.

The facility has been launched in Bristol which will help to support the expansion of the world's largest tidal turbine and create tens of thousands of supply chain jobs. The site will be responsible for the assembly and testing of the clean energy source and also support the extension of SeaGen. The device was installed between Strangford and Portaferry in Northern Ireland in 2008 and was connected up to the national grid in the July of that year. It is currently the world's largest commercial tidal stream energy generator.

Ministers in the UK have been keen for the nation to reduce its carbon footprint and its dependency on the consumption of fossil fuels. In the past few years, the influx of wind farms and renewable energy projects has accelerated substantially as the country looks to become more efficient. In 2010, the government laid out plans for the UK to slash emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 rising to 80 per cent by 2050.

The latest round of investment in the hydropower supply chain sector is testament to this fact and the nation is aiming to ramp up operations over the coming years.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Bristol centre, energy secretary Ed Davey praised the new initiative adding: "Siemens' new testing facility for tidal turbines in Bristol is a real boost for the South West and for the UK's world leading marine energy industry. Wave and tidal power has an important part to play in our low-carbon energy mix, with the potential to sustain up to 19,000 jobs in this sector alone by 2035."

This latest news will be able to restore confidence into the industry as more and more trained professionals can get a foot on the career ladder within the supply chain and hydropower sector in the UK.

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