Northumberland energy park – supporting the offshore wind industry
The North East already has a well-known presence in the offshore energy sector, having been awarded Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (CORE) status by the UK Government and the developments currently taking place at Northumberland Energy Park in Blyth, Northumberland will enhance its support infrastructure even further
Northumberland Energy Park is part of Energy Central, the UK’s unique port-based service, investment and growth cluster for companies operating in the offshore energy and subsea markets.
And for large-scale advanced manufacturing and engineering companies – supplying products and services to the UK’s growing offshore wind industry – Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 is a prime 36 HA investment and development location on the East Coast of the UK.
The first development phase of Northumberland Energy Park recently hit a major milestone with the commencement of dock work at the site. The work will extend the current dock facilities and allow companies based there to benefit from direct quay access to an additional new 50m x 210m deep water berth on the River Blyth.
With the building of a temporary works cofferdam, dredging work will take place to increase the dock’s current depth of 5.0 LAT to 9.0 LAT and will also further enhance the Port of Blyth’s jack-up barge vessel capability.
The new dock, which is being funded by a £32 million public sector investment is an extension of the current dock facilities – work is set to be completed on the project by Spring 2021.
Companies locating to the site can also tap into nearby facilities at Battleship Wharf, which offers an additional four deep water berths, as well as additional marine facilities at The Port of Blyth, which has access to open sea within 0.5 NM including no locking or air draft restrictions for vessels.
Growing offshore cluster
Energy Central, a partnership between Advance Northumberland, Port of Blyth, Northumberland County Council and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, is a ready-made cluster for offshore energy businesses seeking to reduce cost and maximise productivity through local collaboration.
Energy Central offers nearly 200 HA of strategic, quay linked development sites with offshore energy focussed port facilities and services with direct access to the North Sea and major offshore projects.
Available workforce and expertise
Already, Energy Central is thriving as a home to industry-leading offshore organisations, including: Royal IHC, Enshore Subsea, DeepOcean, Global Marine, Osbit, EDF Energy and TEXO Group. All of these supply chain organisations work on large-scale offshore projects in the North Sea and across the world.
With more than 20,000 people in the North East working in the energy sector and a well-developed engineering supply chain there is no shortage of access to a highly skilled workforce with strong expertise in the subsea engineering and advance manufacturing sectors.
Research, testing and training
Northumberland Energy Park is situated in close proximity to the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult at Blyth, which operates the largest concentration of multi-purpose offshore renewable energy test and research facilities in the world.
These include a wind turbine blade testing facility which undertakes structural testing of blades up to 100m in length and a High Voltage (HV) electrical systems test and measurement suite.
There are also 3MW and 15MW power train testing facilities, which are capable of performing independent performance and reliability appraisals of full systems and components.
The list of facilities goes on as well as being supported by vocational training delivered by Port Training Services (PTS) in conjunction with Newcastle and Northumberland Colleges.
A plugged-in site
Situated on the site once occupied by the Blyth Power Station facility, a pair of coal-fired power stations which were demolished between 2001 and 2003, Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 is building on Blyth’s heritage in power generation by transforming the site previously associated with fossil fuels and turning it into a major asset for the renewable energy sector, while supporting the UK’s shift to clean growth.
The site has a current power capacity of up to 20 MVA, with potential to have a capacity of up to 140 MVA, due to links to renewable energy sources both onshore and offshore.
The site is also close to a National Grid and Northern Power Grid substation, offering an access point to the National Grid alongside major strategic energy investment projects such as the North Sea Link – an electricity link between the UK and Norway, which will be the longest subsea interconnector in the world when it opens in 2021.
Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 is strategically located for market access to offshore energy developments in the North Sea, including Round 3 Zone offshore wind projects at Dogger Bank, Hornsea and the Firth of Forth.
The site also benefits from easy access to the UK’s motorway network for the A1(M) and is a 20-minute drive from Newcastle International Airport. It also has established freight rail access to the Port of Blyth and has rapid links to the UK’s high-speed rail network via nearby Newcastle Central Station.
Open now for site visits for development and investment opportunities, Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 has 36 HA of development land to offer, including an 11.12 HA North East Enterprise Zone site, where businesses receive up to 100% capital allowance for investment in plant and equipment.
The site and dock works is scheduled for completion in Spring 2021 with further development planned at the adjacent 35 HA Northumberland Energy Park Phase 2 and the 95 HA Northumberland Energy Park Phase 3 sites.