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NOF Board Director awarded OBE for services to transatlantic offshore wind collaboration

Posted on 04 January 2022

NOF Board Director awarded OBE for services to transatlantic offshore wind collaboration

NOF Board Director awarded OBE for services to transatlantic offshore wind collaboration

NOF Board Director Alan Lowdon has been awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for services to UK/US offshore wind collaboration.

One of the UK’s leading clean tech industry specialists, with almost two decades of expertise in the offshore renewables sector, Alan has been instrumental in establishing and developing relationships between British and American organisations for the progression of offshore wind innovation and business opportunities.

Currently Director of Strategic Development for the National Offshore Wind Institute in Massachusetts and Professor in Practice, and Chair of Advisory Board within Durham Energy Institute at Durham University, he was previously chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Innovation Board and has also been a board director of NOF since 2015.

One of the pioneers of the offshore wind industry, Alan built on his understanding  of the US utilities market developed from his time in the water industry when he became Director of Technology & Innovation at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth, Northumberland. 

Establishing strategic relationships and a joint patent with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, he helped deliver the first offshore wind collaborations between the two countries’ national laboratories for offshore wind.

He was also part of the UK’s 2011 offshore wind mission to the United States, which built strong links with the Department of Energy and highlighted the capabilities that were being developed in Britain to support the creation of a global renewable industry.

Alan was also involved in the due diligence of two early US offshore wind developments, Cape Wind off the coast Massachusetts and Fishermen’s Energy off the coast of New Jersey, while working for Mott MacDonald.

Having worked with the UK government to establish the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Alan took on the role of Interim CEO, further strengthening the links with the US, which more recently involved the creation of an Innovate UK-backed scheme to encourage US/UK SME R&D collaboration.

Alan also spent time in the Humber region helping it to establish its offshore wind ecosystem and facilitating linkages with US states in New England, the Carolinas, and Virginia, in particular. During his time as a Port of Blyth non-executive director, Alan was also instrumental in establishing UK-US port-based linkages, New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts being key ones.

Alan Lowdon OBE said: “I am extremely honoured and very humbled to receive the OBE.  It is a huge personal accolade as well as an endorsement of the hard work of so many people who have played such an important part in the growth of the offshore wind industry and the esteem in which the UK industry is held, not only in the US, but around the world.  This honour is as much for them as it is for me.”

Joanne Leng MBE, Chief Executive of NOF, said: “Alan is one of the most respected experts in the offshore wind sector whose contribution has been integral to so many positive developments and innovations across the industry. 

“His honour is in recognition of a 17-year journey to successfully build intrinsic links between the US and UK, which have led to academic, operational, innovation and business development collaborations that have benefited both countries.

“This has included his invaluable involvement with NOF, which has helped our members and the wider supply chain gain an insight into the US offshore wind market and introductions to its sector’s key players.”