UK: OGN Wins Grant for Hadrian Yard Offshore Wind Turbine Facility
OGN, already a major player in the oil and gas offshore construction sector, has received a vote of confidence from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills as part of Round Three of the Regional Growth Fund for its expansion into the offshore wind industry. The North East economy will share in the benefit with the creation of 1000 long-term local jobs.
OGN will receive £4,500,000 from the Regional Growth Fund as part of the total £50m investment in the new plant producing steel foundations for offshore wind turbine generators to be developed at their Hadrian Yard site in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear. The factory will be able to manufacture various types of steel foundations suitable for large generators with the capacity of 5MW or more each. It will include the innovative Triton foundation, a three-leg steel jacket, developed by OGN and its subsidiary Aquind, specifically to address the needs of developers of large-scale offshore wind farms in the UK and Europe.
The new purpose-built facility at Hadrian Yard will be capable of producing an unprecedented 150 Triton jackets a year (3 per week), significantly reducing foundation manufacturing and installation costs. The development of the new 36,000m2 plant was approved last month by the North Tyneside Council.
The faster manufacturing methods will help to remove a major supply chain bottleneck while securing more than 700 direct and 300 indirect jobs for highly skilled workers. It will help motivate young people to get relevant education and training, while contributing to the reputation of the North East as a major supply hub for offshore wind.
Offshore wind is predicted to account for 17% of UK electricity production by 2020 as part of the government’s commitment to halve carbon emissions. The UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy production with as much capacity already installed as the rest of the world combined. (Source: Renewable UK)
The development of the offshore wind supply chain in the UK is also predicted to provide sustainable GDP growth of up to 0.6% by 2030 as well as creating 173,000 jobs. The sector could deliver an increase in net exports by £18.8 billion – enough to fill 75% of the UK’s current balance of trade deficit. (Source: CEBR)
Commenting on this major success for OGN, CEO David Edwards said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been approved for this grant from the Regional Growth Fund. The new business will employ many skills and competencies from our oil&gas business. This and other announced grants are a huge vote of confidence for us and for the UK industry. The offshore wind industry is a major driver of carbon emission reduction, economic growth and job creation in the UK and in the North East in particular. The industry is now on the verge of a big breakthrough in terms of introducing new technologies, building new capacity and creating jobs in the UK. However, the Government needs to achieve more clarity in the wider policy matters on renewable energy taking into account the growth and job creation potential of this industry. Three major issues offshore wind developers face are the certainty on ROCs or tariffs, the speed of planning approvals and the availability of grid connections.”
Graham Kennedy, Director and Chief Technical Officer for OGN and Aquind comments: “We have made excellent progress in taking this exciting project forward in recent months and we are grateful for the support of both the local council and the Government. The new facility will enable us to produce approximately 100,000 tonnes of foundations a year in a much more cost effective manner than can currently be achieved. Being awarded this grant was a vital step in taking this plan to the next stage. We aim to start site preparations and construction next year while carrying on with oil&gas commitments.”
Kirill Glukhovskoy, Director for Aquind adds: “This is very encouraging. It is a major achievement for us and we are thankful to the RGF team and our advisers at UNW. We have already received support for the development of the innovative Triton foundation. This grant makes it possible for us to implement another major part of our strategy in the offshore wind construction market – the development of a production capacity able to meet the demands of Round 3 developers and other large-scale offshore wind farms. We now look forward to further announcements from the Government that would resolve the existing uncertainties in respect of the renewable energy policy.”
Press release, October 21, 2012; Image: Energi Coast