The value of wind power to the North East is set to be more than simply providing electricity. Three active projects on Teeside, Dogger Bank (North Yorkshire) and Hull are all promising ongoing jobs and regeneration in previously hard hit areas.
Forewind have recently signed a deal with National Grid for two 1GW grid connections, potentially located in Middlesborough (subject to technical site assessment). In March last year Forewind accepted a 1GW grid connection offer made by National Grid to connect its first project into the existing Creyke Beck substation, north of the Humber Estuary in East Riding of Yorkshire. This latest signing will enable Forewind to proceed with the development of two more 1GW projects.
Forewind have also announced their new venture to deploy two meteorological masts with an innovative foundation structure. Forewind Limited, developers of the Dogger Bank zone, signed a contract with Fred Olsen United AS to design, construct and install the two met masts and foundations at the site by late 2012.
The foundation design, known as a suction installed bucket, was identified as part of the Carbon Trust’s collaborative Offshore Wind Accelerator programme, an initiative which aims is to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy by 10 per cent via research, development and demonstration.
The Carbon Trust held a foundation design competition that attracted 104 entries from across the world and resulted in seven finalists including the suction bucket, designed by Danish specialists Universal Foundation A/S.
The foundation is guided into place via an operator varying the pressures within hundreds of water jets integral to its base, as the vacuum sucks it into the seabed. It uses less steel than conventional piled foundations and its design removes the need for pile driving, seabed preparations, scour protection and a transition piece.
The foundations will be installed on Dogger Bank using a new 132m jack-up vessel, Brav e Tern, which is now under construction.
To confirm the performance of the innovative foundations, verify the design parameters and measure the loads and conditions they endure on Dogger Bank, one will be equipped with strain gauges, meters and data collection systems.
Finally, talks between Siemens and ABP regarding the development of a turbine production facility at the Green Port of Hull are ongoing. Although movement has been slow since Siemens signed an MOU with ABP back in January, both Siemens and the UK Government are keen for the development to remain on track.
Following the recent announcement of renewable energy financial support from Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, which specifically promotes offshore wind and tidal power, Mr Cameron said: “I am very passionate about this investment – I have spoken to the head of Siemens about it personally. We have made the decision this week about the ROCs, so in terms of the investors needing certainty about funding for offshore wind, it is there. I think there’s every reason for it to go ahead, and I’ll work extremely hard to make it happen.”
The Siemens production facility is key to serving Siemens’ Round 3 Offshore commitments as part of the Government’s aim to deliver one quarter of the UK’s total energy needs by 2020 and is likely to generate 700 jobs.