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Energy Central: Blyth drives UK Renewable Energy Future

Posted on 30 March 2020

Energy Central: Blyth drives UK Renewable Energy Future

Port of Blyth has extensive experience in a variety of subsea and offshore renewables projects

Strategically positioned mid-way between Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth, Blyth is home to the dynamic Energy Central cluster and offers the offshore energy sector an ideal blend of first-class facilities, experience and support. 

The perfect environment for inward investment from the offshore and renewable energy sector, Energy Central is a unique partnership between Port of Blyth, Northumberland County Council, the council’s development arm Advance Northumberland and Offshore Energy Renewable Catapult.

The combination of the port’s sector experience and a mature on-site supply chain with Advance Northumberland’s land development project support alongside the ORE Catapult’s world leading test facilities, make Blyth a highly desirable proposition for companies operating and growing in offshore renewables.

Port Project Experience

Port of Blyth has extensive experience in a variety of subsea and offshore renewables projects from handling large scale turbine components and steel structures to mobilising complex cable installation projects. The port holds full ISO45001 accreditation and is fully rehearsed in HSE requirements in the offshore energy sector.

The port regularly manages mobilisation activity for jack-up and subsea installation vessels for the offshore energy market and works closely with its customer base in managing a wide range of subsea excavation, installation and general back deck equipment.

It regularly handles some of the industry’s largest nacelle and blade components on behalf of major OEMs and ORE Catapult.

In addition, the port supports pre-construction development activity and O&M operations for major asset owners. Significant projects supported to date include the Blyth, Rampion and Hornsea offshore wind farms as well as the North Sea Link – the world’s longest subsea interconnector project between the UK and Norway.

Offshore decommissioning project work began at the port in 2018 following the granting of an EA licence with a number of projects completed so far and an exciting partnership with decom and demolition market leaders Thompsons of Prudhoe promising increased capacity and further projects.

Experience to date includes a subsea infrastructure removal campaign with Maersk Decom, and the successful removal and reuse of the existing two offshore wind turbines at Blyth with Fugro.  

The roll out of a network of freeports in the UK could see Blyth benefit from designation with a number of advantages passed on to clients and customers.

Engineering Supply Chain

Beyond marine infrastructure and port services, Blyth has a well-established engineering supply chain with extensive expertise. Major customers from the offshore energy market are able to take advantage of a ‘one stop shop’ approach to project support with fabrication, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and welding capability with availability 365 days a year.

GE's Haliade-X arrives in Blyth for testing at ORE Catapult

Development Opportunities

Northumberland County Council’s ambitious plans to transform the site of the former coal-fired Blyth power station into Northumberland Energy Park, a fully investment ready, quayside development opportunity totalling 166 hectares for the offshore wind sector are well advanced with a £32m works package to remediate the site and redevelop the quay underway.

A key feature of the Energy Central offering, the Northumberland Energy Park will increase east coast UK capacity for the global offshore wind and broader energy sectors and includes an additional 9.5m deep water jack-up berth linked to existing heavy lift operations, plant and infrastructure.

Currently under construction, the scheme is due to be completed in early 2021.

In addition, the port has a major investment programme underway that will see the development of a further 18 hectares of deep water operational land suitable for large scale manufacturing and mobilisation activities being developed at its extended Bates terminal. The development will be completed in late 2020.

National Renewable Energy Centre

ORE Catapult is the UK’s leading technology, innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.

Their National Renewable Energy Centre is equipped to provide extensive research, test and validation services to support the full breadth of industry – including owner/operators, OEMs, supply chain, SMEs and academia – to accelerate new and innovative offshore renewable energy technology to market, driving down the cost of energy.

This includes a wealth of expertise and infrastructure across major technology areas, such as increasing the reliability and efficiency of blades over 100m, de-risking powertrain systems over 10MW, subsea cable testing from UKAS accredited High Voltage laboratories, and an 18MVA grid emulation system.

In addition, ORE Catapult operates a 7MW turbine dedicated to research, an offshore anemometry hub for met-ocean assessment, subsea technology test assets, and a proving ground for robotics and autonomous systems.

Skills & talent acquisition

Energy Central is dedicated to developing the skilled workforce of the future with the partnership currently developing the £5m Energy Central Learning Hub which will serve as a major centre regional training and a permanent home for the hugely successful Blyth STEM Hub.

Meanwhile, Port Training Services, the Port of Blyth’s award winning training arm, recently announced the launch of its unique, open-access £1m wind turbine training facility. To complete the training offering in Blyth, in 2019 the Port joined forces with Newcastle College to offer the innovative Offshore Renewable & Subsea Engineering level 3 diploma in partnership with a number of leading businesses in the sector.

Northumberland Energy Park Quay development works

KEY PARTNERS

Energy Central is a unique partnership designed to attract offshore energy and renewables projects and businesses to Blyth.

  • Advance Northumberland is a unique economic regeneration company, with a bold remit to improve prosperity, quality of life and increase business activity in Northumberland. They support and find fund for new and developing businesses, remediate brownfield sites, build large scale manufacturing units and purpose built offices.
    www.advancenorthumberland.co.uk
  • Northumberland County Council is a forward-thinking Local Authority which aims to deliver inclusive, industrial growth and empower residents and communities. The council is passionate about supporting a more productive, prosperous economy, including the offshore energy and subsea sectors in Northumberland.
    www.northumberland.gov.uk
  • Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult is the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy with a world-renowned expert personnel who lead technology innovation in order to drive down offshore renewable energy costs.
    www.ore.catapult.org.uk

Port of Blyth is one of the UK’s leading offshore energy support bases providing key port services to the oil & gas and renewable industry from its strategic position on the UK’s north east coast, and is home to some of the world’s leading firms in the sectors.

www.portofblyth.co.uk

  • To learn more about Energy Central, visit www.energycentraluk.co.uk

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