Last Tuesday Boris Johnson announced that offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, and that the government will make £160 million available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across coastal communities including Teesside, the Humber, Scotland, and Wales, that will be needed to accommodate offshore wind portside hubs.
This new investment will see around 2,000 construction jobs created and will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories, and the supply chains, the government said.
And encouragingly, this commitment doesn’t seem to be just another party conference soundbite, as immediately following the PMs announcement, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued a request for information (RFI) related to the development of large scale manufacturing of portside hubs.
BEIS is inviting coastal landowners and potential developers of the manufacturing portside hubs, who wish to be considered for potential government support, to reply with information on their sites and projects by 30 October.
Consideration will be given to ports and land with significant quayside capability, quay length and water depth, connected land for marshalling operations, sufficient land availability to support multiple manufacturers on the site, and having a realistic chance of completing construction or being partly operational by 2023.
BEIS are also interested to hear from landowners / developers of projects that may not have sufficient capability to accommodate a large scale manufacturing portside hub, but which could nonetheless accommodate significant offshore wind manufacturing facilities or activities that could boost the UK offshore wind sector. These projects should be capable of swift development.
Massive private investment
Firms with the relevant experience needn’t wait however, as there are plenty of offshore wind farm construction projects to get involved with before the government kick-starts its ports and infrastructure investment.
The £1.4bn 100km2 Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm for EDF Energy (Project ID: 12018666) located 15km off the coast of Fife started piling works earlier this year and is expected to start it’s first commercial supply of electricity by 2023.
Further vast investment is taking place on the £2.6billion Moray Offshore Eastern Masterlead, which includes the McColl offshore wind farm (Project ID: 13377893), the Telford offshore wind farm (Project ID: 12296103) and the Stevenson offshore wind farm (Project ID: 13377892). The scheme will comprise 277 turbines on the three sites near the Beatrice oil field, and is expected to power up to 950,000 homes by 2024.
One of the biggest investments in offshore wind farms is for the £5.25bn SSE subsidiary Seagreen Wind Energy’s Firth of Forth Masterlead scheme (Project ID: 10027608) which involves the construction of two wind farms, Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo. The two wind farms will have a combined installed capacity of 1.075GW, and are expected to power approximately one million Scottish households.
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