Offshore wind and Great Grimsby

The fish docks at Grimsby may not rank amongst the most glamorous locations I’ve ever visited, but I just returned from spending a fascinating time there.

It is interesting to see how my industry, offshore wind, is helping transform the prospects of a town which when I first visited was clearly in need of rejuvenation. The docks are large, built on an epic scale with a surprising historical element of old fish-curing buildings and the like. Grimsby or ‘Great Grimsby as the welcoming signs still call it, was one of the world’s major fishing ports. The offshore wind industry is helping transform it into one of the world’s major operations and maintenance bases for offshore wind and will help re-define the town going forward. I saw operations and maintenance bases for my former company EON and also those for Orsted where signs indicated that this is where the massive SOV ‘mother ships’ are to be accommodated. Other companies such as RES were also present as a ‘cluster’ of major developers are drawn to the town which will inevitably breathe new life into the area.

I was in the town to hear the existing and future supply chain engage with developers ‘Innogy,’ regarding their ‘Triton Knoll’ offshore wind farm. There was a buzz about the place as companies already benefiting from involvement with offshore wind were able to stand up and share their experiences and good news with those seeking entry to the market. I heard from legal partners and companies making davit cranes, to those involved with turbine erection and their own supply chain. Offshore wind is happening was the message – and there is much more to come.

Companies know that they will be judged on ‘local content’ which is being measured in the development stage and forms part of the nascent offshore sector deal for offshore wind. Developers and turbine manufacturers who reach out early to the UK supply chain will be well placed to optimise their chances of gaining a favourable consent. The Crown Estate indicates that project length will shortly be raised from 50 to 60 years, giving long-term skilled opportunities to communities hosting offshore wind operations and maintenance bases. 

The supply chain appeared energised and is clearly ready to help deliver further growth. Benefits coming from major project involvement are there to be see in towns such as Grimsby which needed a new role following the decline of their fishing industry, local partnerships evolved which helped to make it happen. Judging by the interest shown future events such as these should become a model for our industry. Well done to those involved.

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