Huge jobs boost as Dong Energy commits to Hornsea Project One with final investment approval

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 3 Feb 2016

DONG Energy will build the world-leading Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm, having made the final investment decision today.

With a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts, it will become - by a considerable margin – the largest offshore wind farm on the globe, creating 300 permanent jobs. 

It is a multi-billion pound commitment, and the largest ever made by the Danish giant.

Confirmation of the go-ahead for the project is a huge boost to the Humber, with a Memorandum of Understanding signed to push forward Able Marine Energy Park as a mobilisation facility at North Killingholme, a £25 million onshore power station neighbouring, and orders for blades from Siemens' under-construction Greenport Hull facility.

Dong is already using Port of Grimsby for operations and maintenance of Westermost Rough, and co-ordinating construction of Race Bank. 

Brent Cheshire, Dong Energy UK’s country chairman, said: “Hornsea Project One is a world-leading infrastructure project being built right here in the UK. It is ground-breaking and innovative, powering more homes than any offshore wind farm currently in operation.

“We are making a major financial investment to construct this giant wind farm and this underlines our commitment to the UK market. 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."

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, said: “Thanks to Government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy and this success story is going from strength to strength. 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.

“This project means secure, clean energy for the country, jobs and financial security for working people and their families, and more skills and growth boosting the Northern Powerhouse”.

Once completed, Hornsea Project One will be able to meet the electricity needs of well over 1 million UK homes. It will be located 120 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast.

The project has the potential to create around 2,000 jobs during its construction phase with up to 300 additional jobs supported directly and indirectly throughout its operational phase.

Hornsea Project One will span a huge area of approximately 407 square kilometres, which is over five times the size of the city of Hull. The offshore wind farm will use 7 megawatt (MW) wind turbines, with each one 190 metres tall – larger than the Gherkin building in London.

Siemens has been named preferred supplier for the 7 MW wind turbines and the new Siemens turbine production facilities in Hull will support the project. A £25 million contract has also been awarded to UK infrastructure company Balfour Beatty for the construction of the onshore substation, underlining Dong Energy’s positive impact on the UK supply chain.

Mr Cheshire added: “This is a historic milestone for Hornsea Project One as we are now making a firm and final commitment to invest fully in the project. Almost a decade on from initial planning, and following years of vital development work from a number of different companies in the supply chain, we are now ready to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm”.

Asked about confirmation on any locations for the development, a spokesman said the company was currently exploring various options for the construction of Hornsea Project One, given this is a unique project located far from shore.

No final decision has yet been made on the construction process.

">View a video about Hornsea Project One here.

As part of the project, Dong will construct the longest ever offshore wind farm high voltage AC electrical system in the world. It will take the clean electricity produced by the wind turbines, transmit it to shore and then feed it into the national grid. This system includes more than 900 kilometres of cables, enough to stretch from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The Danish giant is the sole owner of Hornsea Project One after acquiring the remaining 66.6 per cent ownership share of SMart Wind a year ago. It also has the project rights to Hornsea Project Two and Hornsea Project Three, which have the potential of 3GW of offshore wind power capacity in total.

Hornsea Project One is expected to be fully commissioned in 2020.

The decision has been welcomed by Mark O’Reilly, chief executive and chairman of Team Humber Marine Alliance, the organisation that supports the industrial sector. It comes after a long period of consenting and preparation ahead of the mammoth commitment.

He said: “This is great. You never take anything for granted, and a lot of people may not understand that.
“For so long we have been talking about this, and now to actually get to the point where it is coming, it is sealed, is great.
“There are still some unanswered questions about the supply chain, but this is Round Three, it is the industrialisation phase that we have been looking at, and it is getting real.”

Reflecting on the enormity of the requirement to build, he said: “You can’t have a little square of land to do all this, you have got to have a big site to do the mobilisation, and we would hope that will be Able (Marine Energy Park). 
“There will be quite a lot of stuff for Greenport which will be on stream too. 
“If you look at blades alone that is 522, these are not small numbers. 
“For Grimsby, with the operations and maintenance side, it is 300 jobs, and work on a different scale. We will see a different kind of vessels, this is 120km, not a little crew transfer vessel going out daily.
“This is a cracker for everything, the whole of the Humber, hopefully every part of the region should have some benefit.”  

This was endorsed by leading trade body RenewableUK. Deputy chief executive, Maf Smith, who hails from Barton, said: "Today's decision is an important step in making this historic project a reality; it signals the start of creating a new landmark in the North Sea. Its size is guaranteed to bring a multitude of benefits to the UK, in particular, a huge amount of inward investment and the creation of local jobs on the east coast of England. This offshore wind farm will play an important part in meeting our Paris climate commitments, but will also help create the new energy infrastructure this country desperately needs."

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