Work starts on Port of Tyne control base for world’s biggest wind farm bringing 200 jobs to South Shields

Construction has a officially started on the creation of the world’s largest offshore wind farm which will be located 130km off the North East Coast.

By Neil Fatkin
Monday, 22nd November 2021, 2:03 pm

Today (November 22) ground was officially broken on the the construction of the the Operations and Maintenance Base at the Port of Tyne site which will create over 200 new jobs.

The wind farm is being constructed by SSE Renewables and the South Tyneside base, which will be operated by the energy company Equinor, will control the 277 Dogger Bank wind turbines which have blades measuring 107m in length – around double the wingspan of the Angel of the North.

Operations Director Mark Halliday said: "The wind farm will be a large contributor to the UK’s net zero ambitions, at the same time creating jobs and bringing investments to the local economy.

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“This ground-breaking is a proud moment for the project and marks the start of more than 35 years’ presence by the Dogger Bank operations team here at Port of Tyne.

"As well as building a state-of-the-art facility, we are looking forward to building a fantastic team based here and working with others in the region to develop a world-leading offshore wind cluster.”

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Construction commences hot on the heels of the COP26 summit with the UK Government committed to decarbonising the country’s electricity system by 2035. The 3.6GW project will be capable of providing renewable electricity for around six million UK homes which will see the base overseeing the generation of around five per cent of the country’s energy.

A computer generated image of how the Dogger Bank Wind Farm Operations and Maintenance Base will look.

Matt Beeton, Chief Executive Officer at Port of Tyne, said: “It’s a huge win for the region that the Operations and Maintenance base for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm will be right here at the Port of Tyne.

"Being home to Dogger Bank, firmly places the North East at the centre of the offshore energy transition, and we are already seeing ripple effects within the local offshore wind supply chain. As our first resident of the Tyne Clean Energy Park, we are confident this base will attract other significant manufacturing and operational businesses to the Tyne.”

As well as offices and a warehouse to store spare parts for the wind farm, the design includes the development of a new quay suitable for mooring the state-of-the-art Service Operations Vessels that provide accommodation, and transport for technicians to and from the wind farm. The vessels will come to the port approximately twice a month for resupply and crew change.

The UK Government hope that by 2030, offshore wind could generate enough electricity to power every UK home.

In keeping with driving down carbon emissions, the base will incorporate solar panels for onsite renewable energy generation and electric vehicle charging points to enable staff to travel to work in low emissions vehicles.

Dogger Bank Project Director, Steve Wilson, said: “Today we’re celebrating the start of work to build this innovative zero carbon base, but it’s also a great chance to take stock and celebrate what’s already been achieved.

“With around a third of the onshore high voltage cables now in place for the first two phases of the wind farm and the first onshore converter station starting to take shape, we’re looking forward to getting started on the offshore installation work during 2022 that will be critical to this world-leading renewable energy asset becoming fully operational from 2026.”

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