Plans to make the Humber a world-class centre for offshore wind have taken a major step forward after a Danish energy giant committed itself to a new marine energy park, paving the way for the creation of hundreds of jobs.
Business and civic leaders welcomed a memorandum of understanding which should see Dong Energy become the anchor tenant of the £440m Able Marine Energy Park, in north Lincolnshire.
Dong, which will be building the 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea Project One, 120km off the Yorkshire coast, as well as the 580 megawatt Race Bank farm, off Norfolk, said they hoped to create a “sizeable hub with multiple suppliers”.
Able wants to develop the site as Europe’s largest offshore energy park and its executive chairman Peter Stephenson said discussions with the supply chain suggested around 500 people would be employed on the site by 2018.
“What our object here is to get manufacturing in the UK, have them (suppliers) all on site and have 24/7 manufacturing that will bring the price down,” he said.
Some components of the turbines will be imported and assembled before being shipped out, but they also expect to manufacture and export to other countries. Over 1,000 turbines will be needed just to supply the Dogger Bank and Hornsea wind farms which are split into multiple projects.
It is has already been announced that Siemens’ Hull factory will be supplying blades for Hornsea Project One and ScottishPower Renewables’ £2bn East Anglia ONE scheme. This week Siemens released more details of the 1,000 jobs they expect to create in Hull. Around 400 people are already employed in offshore wind operations and maintenance roles in Grimsby.
Among those to welcome the news was James Wharton, the minister for the “Northern Powerhouse”, who said it was “another significant step for the Humber Enterprise Zone and further shows that firms are realising the benefits this Zone offers.”
Humber Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Lord Haskins said the agreement was “a boost to the local economy and confirms that in terms of location, connectivity and infrastructure, we are developing our Enterprise Zone along the right lines”.
Mark O’Reilly, Team Humber Marine Alliance chief executive, added: “The dream of the Humber being a world-class cluster for offshore wind in the UK is now becoming a reality with both banks of the Humber estuary establishing significant sites and facilities to support this burgeoning industry.”
Dong’s head of strategic supply chain Joachim Steenstrup said: “Able Marine Park is very close to what you would come up with, if you had to do a painting of the optimal cluster for the renewables industry on a blank canvas - close to the sea with abundant quayside and adjoining land to manufacture, assemble, and store goods. In our dialogue with Able, it has become clear we share the same thoughts on reducing the cost of electricity from renewables by creating a sizeable hub with multiple suppliers.”