Driffield News

The former Driffield man who is a regular visitor to Downing Street

Former Driffield School & Sixth Form student Tim Pick is spearheading the UK’s ambitious targets to build on its global leadership in offshore wind energy after he was appointed the UK’s first Offshore Wind Champion.

Tim’s role is to promote the acceleration of new offshore wind projects around the UK, co-chairing the Offshore Wind Acceleration Taskforce (OWAT) alongside Minister for Climate and Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart.

This taskforce aims to bring together government and private sector stakeholders from across the UK offshore wind sector to review existing systems and processes with a view to speed up the further development of offshore wind power in the UK.

Former Wansford resident Tim, who has more than 25 years’ experience advising on the development of energy projects in the oil and gas industries, was appointed to the role following the government’s publication of the British Energy Security Strategy in April.

The strategy sets out the government’s ambition to deliver up to 50GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, including up to 5GW of innovative floating wind, produced by turbines on floating foundations out in deeper seawaters.

It is hoped the expansion to 50GW will attract vital investment to UK coastal communities and promote skilled jobs in coastal areas served by the offshore wind farms.

Crucially, amid the current energy crisis, offshore wind will help to reduce the UK’s reliance on expensive, imported fossil fuels, generating clean, affordably produced energy in the UK.

Tim told the Wolds Weekly that it is an exciting time to be a part of the offshore wind sector which is leading the world in its innovation and development.

He said: “The government published its British Energy Security Strategy in April which set out the UK’s increased ambition for offshore wind.

“The government set up the Offshore Wind Acceleration Task Force which I co-chair with Graham Stuart MP, managing the agenda and progress.

“I also provide independent recommendations to the government on what they should focus on.

“Some of the main areas of focus are the planning and environmental consenting process which needs updating for the specifics of offshore wind, because it is too slow, as well as connections to the National Grid.

“For an offshore wind developer today, once they acquire their seabed lease, it can be 10 years before they can start to build anything, we are trying to speed up that process.

“There is a huge focus on this. I was appointed by former prime minister Boris Johnson, who was very passionate about it and wanted regular updates on how we could move more quickly.

“The current government remains focussed on speeding up the process, but is also very interested in the opportunity for economic growth and jobs this sector can bring.

“There is a recognition that we have not done as well as we could have in terms of growth and jobs in this industry, although the Humber region has had some big successes, with the port of Grimsby benefiting from an increase in skilled job opportunities and Hull with the expansion of the Siemens factory.

“There are many more opportunities out there and it’s actually a very good levelling up story because it’s putting jobs and growth where they are needed.”

Tim, who studied law at Cambridge University after completing his A-levels in Driffield, was head of energy, resources and infrastructure at “Magic Circle” law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer until April.

Prior to joining Freshfields in 2013, he was head of New York-based law firm Shearman & Sterling’s international Project Development and Finance practice.

He has more than 25 years’ experience of advising on the development of energy projects in the UK, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and beyond, including in the oil and gas and power generation industries.

Tim was based in Abu Dhabi for around a decade, with the balance of his law firm career based in London.

He said his latest appointment is an amazing opportunity and has given him a new lease of life.
“Offshore wind is the cheapest form of energy we have,” he continued.

“It is green and secure, as we are not relying on another country for its supply.

“It has the potential to help solve the cost-of-living crisis, energy security and the climate crisis all in one.

“With 880,000 sq. km of sea around the UK, we have plenty of sea and plenty of wind and so why wouldn’t we take advantage of it?

“We lead the world in this and now everyone wants it. It’s a great opportunity to showcase what the UK and UK-based businesses can do.

“At the same time as my appointment, the Government announced a £160m fund to support the development of floating offshore wind.

“Most offshore wind farms have a fixed bottom which can be used in up to 60m depth of water.

“As the North Sea is quite shallow, this has allowed development around much of the east coast, however you can’t have a fixed bottom wind farm off the north of Scotland or in the Celtic Sea between Cornwall and Wales for example, because of the depth of water.

“We are leading the market in developing floating offshore wind, which has the turbines based on massive floating foundations.

“This technology means that offshore wind could be used anywhere and unlocks so much more potential.

“On some days, wind power alone can provide 50 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and this trend should increase because we are building a lot more wind farms. I strongly encourage people to download apps like NG ESO or GridCarbon and see where their power comes from – it’s really exciting what’s happening.

“Wind energy supply is of course dependent on the weather, so there is lots of parallel work going on looking at ways of balancing demand and supply, as well as ways of storing the energy in batteries or hydro schemes and in the future maybe storing it in the form of hydrogen.

“At the moment, when wind and solar are down, we have to rely on gas and the challenge is to be able to get a system where we don’t have to rely on gas.

“The future is to continue to build our capacity for offshore wind and build connections with Europe to trade off different weather patterns between countries.

“Ideally, we will have a system entirely based on renewables and nuclear so we can completely get rid of electricity generated from hydrocarbons. That’s the vision and we are already progressing quite a way towards it.”

He added that he has found it interesting working closely with politicians and said his co-chair Graham Stuart is very enthusiastic and passionate about the Minister for Climate role.

“Graham is a very positive force in this role, very focussed on the growth and jobs that the offshore wind industry can drive”, he added.

“We have two people from the East Riding – Driffield and Beverley – driving growth in offshore wind.

“It’s a positive story for the area!”

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please allow ads on our site Ads help pay for our website and content. Switch off your ad-blocker and enjoy.