There is plenty to be excited about this year in our nearest and dearest city- Hull. As well as preparing to be the City of Culture in 2017 (it was recently named as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2016 by the Rough Guide), Hull is also aiming to put our region at the forefront of Britain’s Renewable Energy Industry. Hull’s Green Port investments looks to establish Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire as a world-class centre for renewable energy. Siemens recently announced £160m investment into two sites located in Hull and Paull which will be fully operational in 2017 and is set to create over 1000 jobs directly as well as well as thousands of support roles at new and existing supply chain businesses within the area. Hull City Council say: “By taking advantage of the Port of Hull’s prime location in relation to the offshore wind opportunities in the North Sea, the region is perfectly placed to capitalise on the UK’s offshore wind industry. Siemens has chosen Hull as the location to build its world class offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing, assembly and servicing facilities that will form the centre piece of Green Port Hull. As well as offshore wind there are major opportunities in bio fuels, carbon capture and storage, waste to energy, solar, wave and tidal power generation. The renewable energy sector will be the single biggest influence on the local economy for generations, creating thousands of new jobs along with a wealth of opportunity for local people and business” As well as the wind turbines the region is already the number 1 in the UK for Biofuel production, boasts more than 20 onshore wind farms and is home to innovative tidal and wave technology. Careers Fair On Thursday 21st January Hornsea School held its annual Careers fair (see photo top right), giving students the opportunities to find out the possibilities for employment in the region. Both Hull College and Hull University are developing an extensive range of courses to prepare school leavers for the jobs that will be created in the renewables sector and there were also several stalls offering apprenticeships. Siemens are busy recruiting their 1000 new staff at this very moment, so in theory at least, the future looks promising for our youth. Benefits to Hornsea? On the downside, however, the competition for all of these new posts is very hot. In the previous round of recruitments by Siemens there were 3,300 applications for 135 jobs. People from all around the country will be offering their labour. Realistically, although some local youngsters may be fortunate enough to forge a career at Green Port Hull or the support services, the overall impact on levels of employment and the economy of the town is unlikely to be significant. Neither are the growing array of wind turbines that we now see every time we look out to sea likely to contribute to any great extent to our long term energy security. The main cables connecting the wind farm to the grid are directed to Grimsby, so in the event that energy supplies should become scarce we would not be first in line to benefit from them. Spirit of Hornsea Pottery Perhaps, rather than pinning our hopes on feeding off the scraps from major projects by large corporations such as Siemens, we would be wiser to take the initiative ourselves and find ways to generate employment and energy by encouraging thriving cottage industries right here. In the last century the enterprise and talents of a small group of people led to Hornsea becoming a part of almost every household in Britain as well as 50 countries around the world, creating employment and prosperity for a large number of local families. Since the demise of Hornsea Pottery, the brain drain which sees a steady flow of our most talented youngsters to other regions in search of employment has become even more pronounced. It is for this reason that Hornsea Community News has launched its Young Green Entrepreneurs Scheme. Green Revolution As the recent Climate Change summit and the accompanying extreme weather disasters have illustrated, we need to urgently address the issue of sustainability in every aspect of our lives and begin to live within the confines of the earth’s capacity to support us. Whilst this may involve some sacrifices, it also provides many new opportunities for people with enterprise, creativity and vision to develop alternatives with the future of the planet in mind. In terms of energy security, for example, it has been shown that small scale, micro generation and community owned energy schemes, coupled with energy saving measures, are by far the most effective and efficient. But energy is only one element of the sustainability equation. The greatest causes of environmental degradation and global warming are our current farming practices and eating habits. A myriad of possibilities exist to grow, process and sell foods in ways which respect nature’s laws. So too with transport- another major cause for concern but also a source of opportunity to develop more earth friendly ways to travel. The same principles can and are being applied to construction, housing, health care, education, indeed every aspect of our lives and so the possibilities are infinite. All around the world the shoots of a new post industrial age are rising up and we have the opportunity to embrace and pioneer these changes right here. Dragon’s Den The Young Green Entrepreneurs Scheme aims to harness the talent and experience of our local business community to support the young people of the town who wish to take up the challenge. The scheme was launched with a stall at the Careers Fair and has already attracted support from some business people but we are looking for more potential entrepreneurs under the age of 30 to come forward. Everyone who contacts us will be invited to a presentation event to generate ideas and pair up entrepreneurs with mentors. If successful we will then organise a ‘Dragon’s Den’ event later in the year in which new business projects can be presented and seek financial support. Tel: 0795 829 83 65 or email: [email protected] to register your interest or find out more.