Energy Estuary joy as Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm gets go-ahead

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 6 Sep 2016

A HUGE boost to Grimsby and the Humber’s renewables credentials has been received, with today’s granting of development consent for Triton Knoll offshore wind farm’s electrical system.

The announcement has been made by Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, paving the way for it to enter the next subsidy auction.

It will create hundreds of permanent jobs, hotly tipped for Grimsby, should it join the five already operating and the Race Bank and Hornsea developments. Able Marine Energy Park is also in the thinking.

With a potential capacity of 900MW, Triton Knoll dwarfs those already built by Centrica, Dong Energy and E.on off the Lincolnshire coast. It is a joint venture between RWE owner Innogy and Statkraft.

Triton Knoll consent delivery manager Melissa Read, pictured right, said: “Today’s announcement by Greg Clark is an important milestone in the development of Triton Knoll and a real testament to the high quality of application and information our consents team presented. A very thorough six-month long examination has enabled a wide range of local views to be considered in the final proposals and we are very grateful to everyone who has taken part in this process. Obtaining consent is the start of the next phase in the project’s life cycle, and we look forward to working with the community and stakeholders as we take the project forward into construction.

“Triton Knoll has potential to be a real catalyst for supply chain and economic growth in the Greater Lincolnshire, Humber and East Coast regions and is already working locally and regionally to help develop the supply chain and establish a lasting regional economic legacy. In the Humber area, we anticipate the project could be worth a total of around £224million and support over 800 jobs annually during construction alone, while its operation could support a further 220 jobs annually locally.

“As a now fully consented project, Triton Knoll can confidently move forward creating business opportunities, jobs and equipping local people and businesses with new skills to be able to tender for jobs both with us and across the wider renewables sector for many years to come. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re looking forward to working more closely with local communities as the project continues to grow.”

In July 2013, the then Secretary of State granted consent for the project’s offshore wind turbines, while this latest Development Consent Order provides consent for the electrical system which connects the turbines into the national grid onshore. Today’s consent includes the offshore export cable, the onshore underground export cable, an intermediate electrical compound at Orby, and a new substation at Bicker Fen, ultimately ensuring the delivery of energy potentially into an anticipated 800,000 UK homes once the wind farm is fully operational.

Triton Knoll was the largest Round Two offshore wind farm site to be awarded in 2004 by The Crown Estate.

Huub den Rooijen, director of energy, minerals and infrastructure at The Crown Estate, which manages the UK seabed, said: “Today’s positive announcement for Triton Knoll reflects the hard work and investment from Innogy and Statkraft over the last few years.  Major projects like Triton Knoll provide an attractive opportunity to build new low carbon power stations at an increasingly competitive cost.”

While the project now has full consent, its next milestone is to achieve a successful bid into the Government’s upcoming Contracts for Difference auction.

Project director James Cotter, who addressed Grimsby Renewables Partnership’s annual conference this summer, added: “Triton Knoll aims to be one of the most cost competitive offshore wind farms in Europe by seeking best value in all aspects of the project. At the same time, the project is committed to ensuring areas like the Humber, Greater Lincolnshire and East Coast economies can benefit most from its investment.”

James Cotter, addressing the Grimsby Renewables Partnership’s annual conference this summer.

Grimsby is strongly touted for operations and maintenance for the 25 year lifespan of the farm, closer to the port than some already controlled from there.

Immingham, North Killingholme and Hull will all be vying for staging work, with much depending on turbine and blade supplier, and the timeframe for delivery.

A project spokesman told Humberbusiness.com: "Able UK’s AMEP remains a great opportunity for Triton Knoll and the local area if it can be built in time to accommodate the construction of Triton Knoll. Clearly, there’s a long way for AMEP to go to be ready to support the wind farm, and we will support it as far as we can, as it could be an excellent opportunity for the project and the UK. However, we will also continue to review all of our East Coast port options, to best be able to deliver our aspirations of supporting regional supply chain, skills and economic growth."

As reported, AMEP - subject to lengthy consenting argument - has lost out on Hornsea, the world-leading project pipeline from Dong Energy, after a Memorandum of Understanding was terminated following a review of port capacity

Richard Sandford, Innogy's head of offshore investment and asset management, said: "Innogy is delighted that the Secretary of State has seen fit to stand firmly behind Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm, reaffirming the government's clear commitment to offshore renewables.

"Innogy has remained committed to Triton Knoll for nearly 13 years, convinced of its potential to be the most cost competitive offshore wind farm in UK waters, and one of the strongest opportunities for low cost, secure, home grown energy for UK consumers.

"The wind farm has a clear and genuine aspiration to deliver jobs, investment and new skills opportunities into the east coast region, and we look forward to its progress, successfully, into the next CfD bidding round, and ultimately operating at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse."

Olav Hetland, senior vice president of offshore wind power at Statkraft, said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to award consent for the Triton Knoll electrical system. It is testament to both the highly skilled team who worked on the application and the potential for the project to make a positive contribution to the UK’s energy mix.

“Together with our partners Innogy our focus now is to ensure Triton Knoll enters the next CfD auction as one of the most cost competitive offshore wind projects to date, with opportunities for UK jobs and supply chain at the core of the project’s strategy.”

Onshore site investigations have now started around the cable route and landfall, to establish key information which will inform the detailed design of the onshore works. The project anticipates hosting a series of public open days early next year to present the plans to local people.

As reported, Triton Knoll is already building its presence in the region and establishing a relationship with the local and regional supply chain, in order to give businesses sight of and an opportunity to compete for emerging contracts linked to both the construction and operation of the wind farm.

RenewableUK, the trade body, is highlighting the potential for job creation throughout the UK, following the decision. Deputy chief executive, Maf Smith, said: “The developers of this major infrastructure project are working hard to ensure that British supply chain companies will reap the economic benefits on offer from Triton Knoll. There’s massive potential for job creation for innovative companies in Lincolnshire, the Humber region and throughout the UK."

Business and community leaders have welcomed the consent.

Following the announcement, Councillor Ray Oxby, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “News of the consent for Triton Knoll is fantastic. We continue to work very closely with the company particularly in terms of supporting the supply chain for this build and helping to train people for the jobs that will accompany this massive development. The renewables industry is key to securing the future of North East Lincolnshire and this project has an important role to play within this.”

Lord Haskins, chairman of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a very welcome step forward on another large energy infrastructure project taking place close to the Humber, creating the potential for more jobs and investment on the Energy Estuary.  

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Triton Knoll team over the years ahead to ensure that as much value as possible can be realised in the local area.”
 

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