Belfast Harbour aims to become leading renewables hubNews // May 4, 2011
Belfast Harbour is to fund and build a new £40 million, 450m quay and 50 acre logistics space on the County Down side of the Harbour. The project will create up to 300 full time jobs and 150 construction posts.
If a final agreement is signed, DONG Energy will use the facility to pre-assemble both the turbines and their foundations. The scheme represents one of the Harbour’s largest ever capital investment projects.
Speaking at Belfast Harbour Office, Peter Gedbjerg, DONG Energy Vice President and UK Country Manager, Power, said: "The UK has a very ambitious plan for expanding the production of renewable energy.
"We are very proud to be helping make this plan come alive and we hope to achieve a long and fruitful relationship with Belfast Harbour. The possibility of a tailor-made facility to make the installation of offshore wind turbines even more efficient fits perfectly with DONG Energy’s goal of bringing down the construction cost of renewable energy."
Over the next 20 years it’s expected that 11,000 new offshore wind turbines will be built in UK and Irish territorial waters at a cost of c. £100bn. With almost a quarter of the planned turbines located within 150 nautical miles of Belfast, the Harbour area is well placed to become a major centre in the rapidly expanding offshore wind sector.
The Crown Estate, which manages licences for UK offshore wind farms, has awarded DONG Energy (as part of its Round 2 and 2.5 Licence Rounds), the licence to construct the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm together with Scottish Power Renewables, and to further extend the capacity of the Burbo Bank (up to 234 MW) and Walney (up to 750 MW) offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea.
Len O’Hagan, Belfast Harbour’s Chairman said: “This initiative, which the Harbour has been pursuing for well over a year, has the potential to kick-start Belfast’s aspirations to become a leading player in the new green economy.
“Belfast Harbour has a long track record of investing in new infrastructure... our expectation is that investment in a new offshore wind facility will help establish a new 21st century renewable cluster.
“In addition to turbine assembly operations, there may also be opportunities to attract turbine manufacturers to Northern Ireland, helping to lay the basis of a Marine Energy Park that would create significant numbers of new high-value-add jobs and inward investment.”
Belfast is the only port on the island of Ireland with the capacity to undertake a turnkey investment of this scale in the timescales required. DONG Energy is a world leader in offshore wind farms and has built five of the world’s ten largest offshore windfarms.