A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Harwich International Port today to mark the official start of construction of the £10 million state-of-the-art operations & maintenance (O&M) base for Galloper Offshore Wind Farm.
Representatives from the wind farm, Tendring District Council, the Port and contractors working on the base together turned the first soil to kick-off the works which are planned to take around 12 months to complete and create 120 direct and indirect local jobs.
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. I would also like to thank local businesses that were early to recognise the potential for the base to help regenerate the area.”
Consent approval for the base – which will be home to the team of 60 who operate and maintain the 353 megawatt (MW) wind farm – was received from the Marine Management Organisation and Tendring District Council in September this year.
Tendring District Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment and Growth, Zoe Fairley, said: “Having firms such as Galloper Wind Farm Limited locate in the area is critical if the district’s economy is to thrive, and its presence in Harwich demonstrates the opportunity Tendring has to establish Harwich as a centre of excellence in energy, logistics and marine engineering.
“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.”
The Galloper O&M Base will comprise 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; a fully-equipped gym; plus warehousing, office facilities and a new access road off the A120. It is expected that the innogy and Siemens Gamesa employees who make up the Galloper team will move in to the new base in early 2020.
Three main contractors will 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, with offices throughout the UK, will design, fabricate and install the pontoon.
R G Carter Director and General Manager James Wilson said: “R G Carter is delighted to have been awarded the contract for the operations and maintenance building for the Galloper Wind Farm. This facility will benefit the local economy and community and will allow us to proudly play our part in providing sustainable energy across the Essex region.”
Galloper is already committed to the area as the team operating and maintaining the wind farm has been working out of temporary facilities in Harwich International Port since early 2017.
The amount of green power the wind farm’s 56 turbines is expected to generate on average each year is approximately equal to the annual electricity needs of more than 380,000 UK households.
Galloper is owned by innogy SE (25%), Siemens Financial Services (25%), Sumitomo Corporation (12.5%), ESB (12.5%) and a consortium managed by Green Investment Group and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (25%). innogy SE led the development and construction of Galloper Offshore Wind Farm and operates the wind farm on behalf of the project partners.