Construction of Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm begins as Dundee nets ‘incredible’ turbine deal

Financial close has been reached on the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm heralding the start of construction on the project which will supply enough low carbon electricity for around 375,000 homes.

Construction of Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm begins as Dundee nets ‘incredible’ turbine deal

Matthias Haag, NnG project director, and David Webster, senior port manager, Port of Dundee

EDF Renewables revealed today that 25 financial institutions are lending money to fund the wind farm with Irish energy company ESB taking a 50% stake in the project.

Located in the North Sea approximately 15km off the coast of Fife, NnG has a capacity of c. 450 megawatts (MW) of low carbon energy and will offset over 400,000 tonnes of Co2 emissions each year. Construction of components is now under way, offshore construction will start in June 2020 and full commissioning will complete in 2023.

All of the project’s 54 turbines will be assembled at the Port of Dundee before being sailed to the site and Scottish engineering firm BiFab will build a number of the foundation jackets.

Project servicing and maintenance will take place at the Scottish NnG Operations and Maintenance base where there will be 50 permanent jobs over the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm. The preferred supplier at this stage is Eyemouth Harbour.

EDF Renewables UK CEO, Matthieu Hue, said: “These are hugely important milestones for the project, and a great credit to the EDF Renewables team. We are excited to get work under way with our new equity partner ESB, our contractors, and all Scottish companies and stakeholders participating in the project.

“The 450 MW NnG project will play an important role in de-carbonising the UK electricity system and is a further example of EDF Renewables continuous investment and growth in Scotland.”

NnG project director, Matthias Haag, added: “It is a great day and we look forward to working with all the teams on what will be a fantastic project for Scotland and for EDF Renewables.

“Each of our main contractors will be introduced to further Scottish contractors through the Forth and Tay offshore cluster which we have supported since it was formed this year. It is designed to maximise local supply chain and employment opportunities as much as possible.”

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander today described confirmation that 54 offshore wind farm turbines will be built in the Port of Dundee as an “incredible vote of confidence” in the city.

Councillor Alexander said: “In partnership with Forth Ports and private sector partners, we have been actively promoting the skilled workforce, facilities and opportunity that exists at the Port of Dundee.

“I am delighted with this latest announcement that recognises those huge assets. It’s an incredible vote of confidence for Dundee but importantly, the relationship with the NNG team, EDF and Siemens Gamesa will be a source of strength long into the future. As leader of the city, I cannot underestimate the importance of this announcement.”

Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “This is great news for Dundee and we look forward to working with EDF Renewables and Siemens Gamesa on this major development that will bring significant benefits to not only the City of Dundee and the port but the whole of Scotland.

“Continued investment in our facilities, skills and infrastructure along with our £10m industry-leading heavy lift quayside means the Port of Dundee is well placed to deliver this prestigious offshore wind infrastructure project.”

Construction of Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm begins as Dundee nets ‘incredible’ turbine deal

Scottish Government finance secretary Derek Mackay added: “This is positive news for the Port of Dundee, Eyemouth Harbour and BiFab in Fife, which are set to benefit from the associated jobs and investment in the local community, demonstrating the strengths and potential of our indigenous supply chain.

“The Scottish Government is actively encouraging developers to explore every possible option to help the Scottish supply chain in the development of future offshore wind projects. While we believe that much more is possible from across the whole sector, today’s announcement is another welcome step in the right direction.”

EDF Renewables also is announcing some of the project’s Tier One contractors. The NNG offshore wind farm will have 54 eight MW wind turbine generators (WTG) which will be supplied by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE). The foundations for the turbines will be supplied and installed by Saipem.

The supply of the onshore and the two OSS’s, plus electrical design work, will be carried out by GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business together with its consortium partner HSM BV.

Prysmian Group will supply and install the export cable, both offshore and onshore. Two offshore export cables, approximately 37km long, will connect the OSSs to Thorntonloch Beach in East Lothian. The onshore cable will connect the offshore cables to the onshore substation located at Crystal Rig in the Lammermuir Hills, approximately 12.3km away.

DEME Offshore has won the contract for engineering, procuring, constructing and installing (EPCI) the inter-array and interconnector cables with offshore installation expected in 2021. The layout will include 12 separate 66kV array strings, connecting the WTGs to the OSSs in three loops to each OSS. The interconnector will connect the OSSs together and allow WTGs to export electricity through the export cables.

Fred Olsen Windcarrier will be delivering the transportation and installation of the WTGs with offshore installation expected in 2022. The vessel Blue Tern will be used for the works with the Port of Dundee as the loading harbour for the wind turbines.

Scottish Renewables said the announcement is great news for offshore wind in Scotland and shows what can be achieved when developers, supply chain and government work together.

Chief executive Claire Mack said: “Scotland’s offshore wind resource is tremendous. Couple with that world-class universities and colleges and our enormous experience in subsea engineering, and the recipe is impressive

“Today’s announcement shows not just the diversity of skilled professions involved in the creation of an offshore wind project, but also the geographic diversity of its impact.

“From Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders to Dundee and Fife, the benefits of this single project are remarkable, and show the importance of focussing on delivering not just the best environmental outcomes but also the best local economic impacts from offshore wind.

“It is important to remember that more than half of the value of an offshore wind project lies in the 20-plus years of operations and maintenance which are required to operate its turbines efficiently.

“Companies in Scottish Renewables’ membership are already excelling in this area, and capturing more of these green ‘jobs of the future’ will be a key component in meeting the target set out by the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council: An offshore wind sector which plays to Scotland’s strengths, delivering jobs, investment and export opportunities in line with the UK Sector Deal as a key part of the path to net-zero.”

However, the GMB Scotland union said Scotland’s share of £2 billion offshore wind project “doesn’t look good enough”.

Secretary Gary Smith said: “The yards in Fife have been lying almost empty for 18 months so something is better than nothing, but it’s hardly the green jobs revolution.

“The overwhelming majority of a contract based just ten miles from the Fife coast will be delivered over 7,000 miles away in Indonesia. If our politicians can’t see the problem in that then we’ve got no chance of building a meaningful renewables manufacturing sector.

“It’s also troubling to hear EDF claim Scotland doesn’t have the sufficient skills and contractors to build for all aspects of offshore wind construction. What has been happening in the twelve years since we were promised the Saudi Arabia of renewables?

“We need detail. What will be our economic share of the total project value? How many jobs will be supported and for how long? What will this mean for the Arnish yard where redundancies have been steady since the wind down of the Moray East contract?

“Based on this morning’s reports, it doesn’t look good enough.”  

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