Delight as £1.1m grant secured by investing wind giant
WORLD leading offshore wind giant Dong Energy marked its official arrival in Grimsby with the confirmation of a £1.1-million grant that will help create more than 100 jobs.
The Danish developer also unveiled an impressive 950sq m construction base, while thanking the local authority for the support it has received as it embarks on an £11-million investment journey in the town.
Westermost Rough, a Round Two wind farm 14 miles up the East Yorkshire coast from Grimsby, will be built throughout 2014, with the epicentre of activity for the engineering feat in the temporary two-storey building in the former fish docks.
It is envisaged an operations and maintenance base will then follow in Royal Dock, with proposals for a new lock-free harbour by The Dock Tower. They are key elements of the successful bid for the Regional Growth Fund money, part of the £30-million Growing the Humber fund secured for the area, with a third of it ring-fenced for South Bank renewables activity.
Benj Sykes, Dong Energy’s UK head, said: “This is a very exciting project for Dong Energy. It is fantastic we have been able to funds from the Regional Growth Fund, I understand the process and it feels exactly how RGF should work.
“We have had great collaboration from the HumberLocal Enterprise Partnership and North East Lincolnshire Council to make so much progress in the time frame we have had. All credit to the teams involved, it really sets us up for the future.
“I see Grimsby as being very much the heart of offshore wind, the centre for North Sea operations, and I am confident we will be delivering a lot of benefit to the region. I genuinely believe this is an important milestone for Dong Energy, as well as Grimsby and the Humber region.”
The immediate focus is the vast Port of Grimsby East facility, assembled within a month, and to be the workplace for up to 45 staff. It will be completed next week and fully commissioned. Marine co-ordination, engineering offices, briefing rooms and additional space for any special projects that emerge, are all catered for, a result of building on what has been learnt from previous projects. The entire length of the service quay bordering Humber Bridge Road is now leased to Dong, and will soon feature two 50m pontoons capable of berthing the four or five crew vessels to be chartered by the company, and also their sub-contractors’ requirements, which could be at least double that number. A crane for equipment lifts is also to be added.
Tue Lippert, senior site and commissioning project manager for Westermost Rough, said: “This is where the building of the wind farm will be run from, and where we will control all the vessels, the crews and the various bits of kit to be installed from. Everything is to managed from here.
“It is an extremely fast-tracked project and this is why we have chosen to establish office facilities of a superior design.
“A lot of effort has been put in to create a good atmosphere, and it is important to maintain morale and increase work satisfaction.”
Mr Lippert, who has moved to the area, said: “It has been a pleasure working together with the council. They have a can-do attitude we have not experienced before, and the help they have given us to go for this RGF grant has been a tremendous support.”
Dong, the first recipient of a slice of the RGF fund, which will be distributed as work progresses, is expected to have a large impact on the local supply chain. It joins Centrica, Siemens and RES, with E.on building out an operations and maintenance base for the Humber gateway farm just yards away.
Jason Longhurst, head of development at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the area and demonstrates how international players have the confidence to invest in North East Lincolnshire, and can see both the current and future potential here, cementing the Humber’s status as Europe’s emerging centre for renewables.
“Funding schemes such as RGF are important to attract and enable development and investment which will have a positive impact on the local economy with the creation of jobs and private sector investment and opportunities through the supply chains. We look forward to working with Dong Energy in the future.”
And the importance of what is happening in Grimsby was underlined. “We talk about Siemens and Able,” said Mr Longhurst, referring to the two high-profile identified manufacturing sites in the Humber. “This, all that is happening in Grimsby, is ahead of the game, but of that ilk and magnitude.
“We have gone from a standing start to something that exudes potential and is happening, now.”
Also present at the launch, held yesterday, were Associated British Ports and Danish Consul for South Humber and Lincolnshire, Kurt Christensen, whose introductory work was described as “critical” by both the local authority and Dong itself.