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Winners crowned at Humber Renewables Awards 2024

8 May 2024

Winners of the 2024 Humber Renewables Awards used the stage to encourage the next generation to take the industry forward on a sparkling night of celebration.  

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A dozen years of recognition of the sector’s sensational role in helping regenerate the region were rung up as the event once again became a fitting finale to Humber Marine and Renewables’ Offshore Wind Connections conference. 

Held at Hull’s DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – a venue that the event heard “probably wouldn’t have been built had it not been for the emergence of offshore wind,” - 200 guests toasted standout stories uniting the Energy Estuary.  

Camilla Carlbom Flinn was crowned Humber Renewables Champion, with her work to diversify the fourth generation family business and take the host organisation to a new level highlighted, as well as impressive ambassadorial duties with her proud Swedish heritage.  

And RWE was named Medium to Large Business of the Year, recognising the huge commitments made to the region with skills programmes, vessel purchases and operations and maintenance expansion.  

Its focus on the future workforce was embraced by many winners, with demand clear. 

Long-term operator from Grimsby, Tidal Transit, won the Green Innovation Award, for its pioneering electric crew transfer vessel project, with a full retrofit of a diesel craft.  

Leo Hambro, commercial director, said: “I am delighted that after 12 years of working in the Humber, we are now creating a change that will not just last for another 12 years, but for generations. It will make a change, not just economically, but environmentally, reducing emissions. 

“We are delighted to work out of Humber. The support we have found locally is second to none, the supply chain, the clients we work with directly are so supportive, and we feel like part of the family.” 

Turning to requirements, he said: “We can’t do it on our own. We need mariners, there is a lack of them, and for tomorrow there is an even bigger problem. We need to engage with kids at any age to show them there isn’t just the opportunity to be a wind engineer, there are opportunities to work at sea, to create a full life career.” 

One potential avenue to pursue is the work being done by the industry’s “town centre billboard” - an inspiring and educational box park. Projekt Renewable Grimsby landed  last year. As well as developing an immersive experience within repurposed shipping containers, it is to offer boat trips to near-shore wind farms this summer. Taking the Engaging the Community Award, director Richard Askam, said: “The thing that made me the most pleased was that everyone in the room now knows a little bit more about Projekt Renewable. Projekt Renewable is for everybody in that room so it is a nice symbiosis of what is needed. Alongside the innovation and investment, we need communication; to get kids to understand what it is they all do. Then they will take it on.” 

A recent £100,000 Crown Estate investment into the project was also flagged. “It is astonishing when you look at the seniority they have in the industry, and in the UK. It is UK Plc backing this project that happens to be in Grimsby but it is a UK problem of lack of awareness. We hope this will be number one, and The Crown Estate has intimated they want to have several of these around the country and that would be great for everyone.” 

Excellence in Renewable Education, Skills and Training went to Hull College, with work on the vital home heating transition highlighted. 

Robin Makey, assistant principal at Hull College, said: “It is fantastic recognition for the staff and the learners of the college, and it is a great platform for us from which to continue developing the skills and enabling learners to thrive and go into this wonderful industry which will support our community and our world. 

“We have a range of heat pumps installed, the first contained cylinder heat pump in the country, and it is wonderful for us to be able to show retrofitting of domestic appliances for everybody.” 

Hull’s River Energy and Renewables Ltd was named Small Business of the Year having made major strides with the consultancy. 

Frank Saunders, head of energy and renewables, said: “It is excellent to be recognised for the hard work we have done as a small business, and a new entrant into the marketplace. It is testament to the amazing team that we have got, and all our great clients as well.”  

Guy Hunter, co-founder and commercial director, added: “We were traditionally a telecoms company but we moved into the energy space and brought people like Frank in with a wealth of knowledge in the industry and has helped us grow into it. Hopefully we can become a big player in it.” 

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s 5G Portal – a testbed for the latest technology to be deployed on wind farms, focused around Grimsby and the Lincolnshire Coast – won Best Renewable Energy Project. The living lab brings digital advances to the fore. 

Nicola Robinson, business development manager at ORE Catapult, said: “It is evidence that collaboration really does work. The partners have worked together to create something that benefits so much more than Grimsby alone.” 

Katharine York, manager of ORE Catapult’s Grimsby-based Operations and Maintenance Centre of Excellence, added: “It is about having facilities in Grimsby that mean people need and want to come here, the new technology, the things that make offshore wind farms run better and more efficiently, and more safely in future. Having Grimsby on the map with this sort of facility, can really start to do these things.” 

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Surprise for Humber director named renewables champion  

Camilla Carlbom Flinn was overwhelmed to have been named Humber Renewables Champion, having been blindsided by the judging panel she had been part of. 

Her sterling work through a huge period of change for the regional group Humber Marine and Renewables – at a time when her own business was bought out – was a key consideration. 

The intense element of surprise was clear, with comedic magician Ben Hanlin describing it as an ‘Ant & Dec’ style wind-up. 

Camilla said: "It is quite overwhelming. This room is overflowing with people who I admire, I look up to and I respect, and to receive this when surrounded by so many amazing companies, amazing people and the future also of this region, with all these wonderful apprentices, it really is a surprise and really is an honour.” 

Born in Cleethorpes, she studied international business management and broadcast journalism, with an early media career taking her to Paris, London and New York before she returned to Lincolnshire in 2008. Her father Anthony’s passing saw her take the helm of Carlbom Shipping, navigating the business into the burgeoning offshore wind market as a mainstay, coal, entered terminal decline.  

It was later held up as a key supply chain partner by Orsted - the world leader in the sector. 

Camilla went on to take on the roles of honorary consul for Sweden and Finland, chair of the Humber chapter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce and become a member of the Swedish Council in London, actively promoting business and cultural connections across the North Sea. 

Presenting the award, HMR chair Iain Butterworth said: “Work in renewables preceded her becoming a director, her role has included the successful merger between Team Humber Marine Alliance and Grimsby Renewable Partnership and she consistently supports its mission, members and directors.”  

He added that she was “incredibly supportive” making “so many introductions locally, nationally and internationally,” in his first year in the top role. She has also played a “significant role” in a Department for Transport funding bid that “could mean a lot for the region,” Mr Butterworth added. 

The family ships’ agency business, based in Stallingborough, was bought by Pentagon Freight Services in 2022, and she remains as a director.   

Significant role in a DfT funding bid that could mean a lot for the region.  

Orsted’s senior stakeholder adviser, Lauren Little, was named Humber Renewables Women of the Year. She was also full of admiration for the talent gathered to celebrate. 

Asked how to encourage others into the sector, she said: “It is ace. Look at all these amazing people I work with in this industry. There is so much opportunity no matter what you want to do, the world is your oyster and I am so privileged to work in it among all these amazing people.” 

Grimsby-born she concluded her university studies with a thesis on the opportunity offshore wind would afford North East Lincolnshire. Now she’s written herself into the sector’s history. 

“I am so delighted,” she said. “To write about it, to work in it, and to be nominated, I was so humbled. The town gets a hard time, but it really punches above its weight, it is a centre of expertise and excellence for operations and maintenance, and people need to recognise that. It is the opportunity it brings to children, young people, everybody, and that’s what’s the best bit about this industry.” 

Corrine Barry, RWE’s East Coast director for net zero collected the big company prize.  

She said: “It really is fantastic for us to be acknowledged for all the hard work we are putting into the region, and for the community as well. We are absolutely thrilled to win this award.  

“We are helping lead the way and blaze a trail with careers, education and skills, and helping people get a great opportunity in a great sector in the region.” 

Referring back to Offshore Wind Connections, of which RWE was headline sponsor, Corrine added: “We want more of what we have seen today. Cross-energy sector engagement and cross-supply chain engagement. Not just offshore wind, but the other energy sectors and opportunities like hydrogen and carbon capture, and other industries too. There is so much opportunity here.” 

RWE’s Ryah Russell was named Apprentice of the Year too. 

The Triton Knoll technician is already a STEM ambassador, mentor to newer apprentices and has returned to her sixth form and spoken to MPs in Westminster. She also recorded a video with the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, while having also supported recent recruitment. 

She said: “This means everything. I just wanted to do something to make a difference and develop. It makes me feel good to think what we are doing for the environment.”