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Many of the existing farms in the North Sea around the mouth of the Humber lie between 10 to 50 miles of the Port of Grimsby. This has led the Port of Grimsby to be the ideal location to base the O&M services for the wind farms which has led to the port establishing itself as a centre of excellence for operations and maintenance activities for Round 1 and 2 wind farms in the North Sea. Also looking into the future with nearly 4,000 extra turbines planned to be built the Port of Grimsby will become the major Port of O&M in the Humber and further afield.
Already a number of wind turbine operators such as Dong Energy have invested money into Grimsby to set up their O&M operations for the North Sea.
As Ørsted invest £6 billion into the Humber region, part of this investment will be based in the port of Grimsby. Ørsted has announced plans for a multi-million pound operations and maintenance hub for offshore wind. The facility will be the largest of its kind in the UK. Initially the hub will support the Westermost Rough, Race Bank and Hornsea Project One wind farms, but in the future the hub will support other east coast wind farms planned by Ørsted.
The hub will transform the way that wind farms are supported. It will be served by a number of new high-tech vessels capable of accommodating 60 crew and technicians. The first of the vessels will come into operation in late 2017 as the new hub becomes operational. The new vessels will be able to spend 28 consecutive days out at sea and will be able to service six to eight turbines a day. The agreement between ABP and Ørsted is that Ørsted will have a base at the port until at least 2038. Part of the agreement that brought Dong to the port was a £11 million package to upgrade the port including new lock gates and new pontoons. The new lock gates were installed in 2014 and they now allow 24-hour fast access for vessels to the Humber River. Ørsted was granted permission in March 2016 to temporarily extend their premises on the Royal Dock to handle the start of operations at the Race Bank Wind Farm which will become operational at some point in the next few years. The planning permission was only granted for a maximum of 10 years, whilst a new base is built to handle any future projects.
Ørsted announced in early 2018, they have picked a contractor to construct an extension to the current facility in Grimsby. The extension will allow the company to base more staff to construct and maintain wind farms in the North Sea.
The development will also include a centre for marine and helicopter operations around the clock capable of servicing offshore operations in and beyond the Humber region.
For maintaining and operating the Race Bank wind farm, Ørsted have purchased a couple of Service Operation Vehicles (SOVs). The SOVs are capable of going offshore for about two weeks to service wind farms. The SOVs can attach themselves to a wind turbine to allow easy access from the vessel onto the turbine. The vessels have a wide range of facilities on board for the crew including a gym, a cinema and high spec living accommodation. One of the new vessels has the capability of landing a helicopter on board.
E.on have invested £4 million into a neglected site in the port area in Grimsby. The new building opened in 2014 and hosted all of the business’s O&M services for its offshore wind turbines in the Humber region and beyond. The building contains the control room for the wind farm, offices, stores and a maintenance workshop. Also as part of the development there is a pontoon which allows three service vessels at the same time to refuel, take on new supplies and get ready for the next trip. The agreement between ABP, the port operator, and E.On was for certain parts of the port to be upgraded and improved.
RES (Renewable Energy Systems) were the first business to locate an operations and maintenance centre for the wind energy sector in the North Sea in Grimsby. The business has over 20 years experience with wind energy and offers a wide range of services to support the offshore wind industry. These services include logistics, surveys and cable manufacturing to name a few. A full list of the services which RES provide can be found on
RES Website: http://www.res-group.com/en/