Equinor and SSE Renewables have announced that the Port of Tyne will be the main base operation and maintenance base for Dogger Bank, which will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm and could supply around 5% of the UK’s electricity needs
Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies. Construction, led by SSE Renewables, began in January 2020.
Equinor will construct the new O&M base and operate the wind farm for its expected life of more than 25 years.
The wind farm, located more than 130km off the coast, will be built in three phases, each 1.2GW.
The new base, which includes both office space and a warehouse, will support 200 direct jobs.
Alok Sharma, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “This new facility is fantastic news for Tyneside and the North East of England. Renewable energy is one of the UK’s great success stories, providing over a third of our electricity and thousands of jobs.
“Projects like Dogger Bank will be a key part of ensuring a green and resilient economic recovery as well as reaching our target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
Stephen Bull, senior vice president for Equinor’s North Sea New Energy Solutions, said: “The North East has a strong industrial heritage and a supply area that stretches north and south of the River Tyne. With a strong low-carbon vision for the future, as well as targets to become net zero in its own operations by 2030, the Port of Tyne is clearly well set up to attract future investments which we hope will complement our activities.”
Matt Beeton, chief executive of the Port of Tyne said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been selected by Equinor and SSE Renewables as the port of choice to house the operations and maintenance base for the largest offshore wind farm in the world. This is clearly a very important milestone in attracting such leading names in offshore power generation to the Port but it’s also extremely important for the wider region in terms of local supply chain and employment opportunities.
“The Port recently launched its ‘Tyne 2050’ plan with a vision to become one of the most environmentally sustainable ports in the UK by 2030. Offshore wind is a key component of that strategy and this announcement is a huge step towards developing a cleaner future for the Port, the region and for industry in the North East.”
The jobs required to operate an offshore wind farm include maintenance technician roles, predominately be based offshore, as well as office-based teams to support the operations from land. The main recruitment activity will begin in early 2022 and ramp up as the project nears operation (due for the first phase in 2023).
The project is also committed to engaging with the UK supply chain. An online procurement portal has been established and meet the buyer events will be held in due course, to encourage UK companies to get involved.