Able UK's major role in offshore wind farm build - on the Tees

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 16 Feb 2018

ABLE UK is playing a major role in the world’s largest wind farm, albeit 100 miles further north than many may have anticipated.

The port operator, which had looked to make Able Marine Energy Park at North Killingholme the focus for the Hornsea Zone wind farm build out – even signing a Memorandum of Understanding with developer Ørsted (then Dong Energy) – is now providing the installation base and a range of associated services from its long-established ‘home’ facility at the mouth of the Tees.

Working with Ørsted and GeoSea, the Belgian marine subcontractor, it is the designated reception, holding and load-out port for the 174 monopiles and transition pieces that form the farm’s foundation package of works.

The massive components are being supplied from a number of different production yards in the North East – hence the role – and across the North Sea in Germany and Denmark. The 900 tonne monopiles are from EEW’s plant in Rostock, northern Germany and three companies will supply the 350 tonne transition pieces – Bladt from Aalborg, Denmark and OSB and Wilton Engineering, both based on the Tees.

Executive chairman, Peter Stephenson, said: “This is another major milestone for our company. We see the success in securing this type of project as very much the result of our ongoing investment in precisely the sort of specialist facilities required by this sector.

“It is particularly pleasing that some of the components are being manufactured in Teesside, proving, yet again, that the area has the pedigree and the infrastructure to compete at the highest level.”

It had been hoped such manufacturing would be attracted to the Humber when the scheme was first brought forward, but following a review of port capacity, the Danish giant called an end to the agreement, struck up in July 2015. It was announced it would not be furthered in August 2016. 

AMEP is still being considered for assembly, with the Triton Knoll team, having stated a preference for it, although site bosses have said previously it would need to see a project pipeline emerge to make quay investment viable.

Land side, and sites for vehicle delivery and inspection are being established off Rosper Road, with the first for BMW almost complete and a second now in planning, building on initial work by the company when it first invested in northern Lincolnshire more than 15 years ago.

Able Seaton Port, which has long since been a significant player across a range of activities, including marine decommissioning, oil rig upgrading works and as a project cargo port, now adds another major type of project to its portfolio.

Duncan Clark, Hornsea Project One programme director, said: “Able Seaton Port has a wealth of facilities and experience that we believe will add real value in delivering logistical support to the world’s largest wind farm.”

To date the first 12 monopiles have been delivered to Able Seaton Port on the cargo vessel Svenja and deliveries will continue over the coming months, with specialist jack-up installation vessel Innovation sailing between the port and the farm, off the East Yorkshire coast.

Attention will switch to Hull for the wholly above-water package of tower, turbine and blades, the latter made at the city's new plant.

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