Milestone moment: First Hull blades head out to offshore wind farm

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 19 Jul 2017

The first batch of wind turbine blades manufactured at the Siemens blade factory in Hull are en route to Race Bank offshore wind farm.

The huge plant officially opened in December, and the first blades to have been manufactured at the site are now ready for installation at the Dong Energy development, off the Lincolnshire coast.

Blades, 75m in length, have been loaded onto the Sea Installer vessel, and will make their way out of the Humber for installation.

Matthew Wright, managing director for Dong Energy UK, said: “This is a fantastic moment, not just for Race Bank, but for the whole offshore wind industry in the UK. To see the first blades made in Hull now loaded out and ready for installation at our project really underlines the strength of the UK supply chain to support the growth of offshore wind in this country.

“When complete, Race Bank will be capable of powering over half a million homes with green energy and this is another major success story for offshore wind, bringing jobs and investment across the North of the UK.”

Construction headquarters is in Grimsby, led by Jason Ledden, wiere the first turbines - installed using imported blades - saw the town's installed capacity pass 1GW.

Grimsby is home to the operations and maintenance bases of five offshore wind farms: Lynn and Inner Dowsing; Lincs; Humber Gateway and Westermost Rough. Race Bank and Hornsea Project One are following, with Dong having last year announced a multi-million pound investment to create the UK's largest offshore wind operations and maintenance hub, at Royal Dock.

Clark MacFarlane, managing director of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy UK, said: "We are delighted to see Dong Energy’s Race Bank development receiving blades made in Hull. This first load out represents a significant milestone in the story of how, in just a few years, we have helped increase the UK economic benefit of lower cost offshore wind and help make the Humber region a hub for low-cost, green energy expertise.”

So far Greenport Hull has seen jack-up vessels arrive to collect parts shipped from the continent, using Hull as an assembly base, which will continue for towers and nacelles. The first sail out for these was in December

Installation of the blades and rest of the components is on track with 25 of the 91 turbines installed to date. Race Bank, at 573MW, is expected to be fully operational in 2018.

Blades being manufactured in Hull is only one part of a dedicated focus by Dong on Race Bank to use UK suppliers. This includes the array cables – which connect each of the wind turbines to the main export cable that transmits electricity back to shore – where three different UK companies have been contracted.

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