A ground-breaking ceremony has been conducted at the Harwich International Port in the UK, for the construction of a operations & maintenance (O&M) base for the 353MW offshore wind farm.
Galloper Wind Farm is owned by innogy (25%), Siemens Financial Services (25%), Sumitomo (12.5%) and ESB (12.5%) and a consortium managed by Green Investment Group and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (25%).
This fully functional offshore wind farm can generate enough clean electricity from its 56 turbines, to power more than 380,000 UK households.
The O&M base is expected to be constructed in 12 months of time and can create up to 120 direct and indirect local jobs.
Consent approval for the base’s construction was received from Marine Management Organisation and Tendring District Council in September this year.
The Galloper O&M Base will include a 24/7 control room to monitor and manage all wind farm activity; a purpose built pontoon for the crew transfer vessels that take workers offshore daily, warehousing, office facilities and a new access road off the A120.
The employees of innogy and Siemens Gamesa, who make up the Galloper team are expected to move in to the new base in early 2020.
Galloper general manager Guy Middleton said: “The ground-breaking is a symbolic but significant milestone as it has been quite a journey for us to first select the location of the base and then take it through the onshore and offshore planning consent to now be at the stage where construction is underway.
“We are extremely grateful for the active support we have had throughout our process, from individuals including local Members of Parliament and Councillors, as well as organisations including the Port, Tendring District Council, Marine Management Organisation, Harwich Haven Authority and The Haven Gateway Partnership.”
Three contractors have been selected to build the facility, with two being local east coast companies. Ipswich-based R G Carter Southern has been appointed to design and construct the building and Ipswich-based Jackson Civil Engineering Group, will design and construct the access road. Farrans Construction, will design, fabricate and install the pontoon.
Tendring District Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment and Growth, Zoe Fairley, said: “It is so important to have facilities such as this new operations and maintenance base because they provide job opportunities for local people, not just at the base itself but in its construction, facility management, security and within a wide range of related supply chain businesses.
“This new facility also goes beyond that. Offshore wind is an important part of our low carbon national infrastructure, and Galloper’s presence may be the catalyst for Harwich to become an important national centre for energy related activity – all of which fits well with our Tendring4Growth initiative.”