The Danish energy giant which committed yesterday to building the world’s largest offshore windfarm off Yorkshire has been urged by MPs to steer investment towards the Humber where there are hopes of thousands of “green” jobs.
Dong Energy has said a proportion of the blades for the “multi-billion” 1.2 gigawatt farm 75 miles offshore, which will power 1m homes, will come from the new Siemens factory in Hull.
Construction, due to start next year, could create 2,000 jobs and another 300 directly and indirectly during its lifetime.
However, there are unanswered questions over where components like the towers will be built for the 623ft 7MW turbines – which are taller than the famous 590ft Gherkin building in London – and where other major contracts will be placed. Last year, the firm signed a memorandum of understanding with Able UK which wants to develop its site at North Killingholme, a short drive from Scunthorpe steelworks, as Europe’s largest offshore energy park.
Scunthorpe MP Nik Dakin said: “What we really need is to translate the good news into very good news for the area and for some of that manufacturing and assembly to take place on the South Humber bank. Given that the UK wind manufacturers are committed to 50 per cent UK content which would clearly include British steel, I urge Dong to make their plans clear at the earliest possible opportunity to give confidence to the area.”
Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn said it made sense to run operations and maintenance from Grimsby Docks, adding: “Young people in Grimsby want to work in these high-skilled, high-waged jobs.”
Kurt Christensen, managing director of Grimsby-based Wind Power Support Ltd, which has worked on every offshore windfarm project since 2008, said Able’s land was “without question the most useful bit of land in Europe” for building the turbines, which can weigh 1,600 tonnes each.
He added: “There’s no doubt in my mind this will bring significant benefit to Hull and Grimsby. If Able gets the go-ahead from Dong or anyone else, I think the floodgates will open.”
Dong has the rights to Hornsea projects two and three, which would produce up to 3GW of energy. The trade body, Renewable UK, said yesterday’s decision “signalled the start of creating a new landmark in the North Sea”.
Dong Energy UK’s Country Chairman, Brent Cheshire, said: “Hornsea Project One will support the supply chain and help create local jobs. To have the world’s biggest ever offshore wind farm located off the Yorkshire coast is hugely significant, and highlights the vital role offshore wind will play in the UK’s need for new low-carbon energy.”
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, said: “DONG Energy’s investment shows that we are open for business and is a vote of confidence in the UK and in our plan to tackle the legacy of under-investment and build an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century.”