Ørsted’s East Coast Hub marks the biggest investment yet in Grimsby’s offshore renewable energy cluster
3:49 pm, Friday, 7th February 2020 - 1 year ago
With its thriving industry ecosystem, technically skilled workforce and a location that’s tailor-made for offshore renewables logistics, it’s no surprise that the sustainable energy giant chose the port of Grimsby for its biggest project to date.
Grimsby is at the heart of the UK’s thriving offshore renewable energy sector. From its well-connected location in the centre of the country, the town’s O&M cluster keeps renewable power generation humming along in the North Sea, while providing businesses with fast access to wind energy ports and zones across the UK and northern Europe.
The latest addition to the town’s offshore renewables cluster is Ørsted’s East Coast Hub, a £10 million development at Royal Dock in the Port of Grimsby. It’s the largest O&M facility in the world, acting as a service base for four operational wind farms, plus the forthcoming zones Hornsea One and Two. Altogether, the six farms will provide energy sufficient to power 3.2 million UK homes.
Why Ørsted Chose Grimsby
So why did the Danish business, recently voted the world’s most sustainable energy company, select Grimsby and the South Humber for this major investment project? The port and surrounding area offered a number of benefits, but location and connectivity were key to the decision.
As the O&M-suitable port closest to the mouth of the Humber, Grimsby was the obvious choice for fast, efficient service access to Hornsea and other major wind energy zones in the North Sea. The port also offers excellent connectivity to UK and European markets. UK offshore renewables ports and zones in regions including the North East, North West, East and South East can be accessed in less than 4.30 hours drive time (one HGV driver shift), while 80% of North Sea power zones can be reached within 12 hours by sea. To complete an unbeaten logistics offer, Humberside Airport is located less than 30 minutes from Grimsby by road – providing fast access to North Sea offshore energy sites via its transport helicopter base.
Grimsby’s fundamental port and location advantages underpin another key benefit for Ørsted – a thriving cluster of businesses and facilities centred on wind power generation and the management of offshore wind farm sites. That means direct access to service providers, supply chain partners and specialist Operations and Maintenance expertise.
Attracting accolades, expertise and further investment
Although only operational since September 2019, the East Coast Hub has already attracted accolades. The facility was awarded the title of Best Renewable Energy Project at the Humber Renewables Awards, and has welcomed delegations of energy leaders from around the world to view the site and discuss best practice.
The project will soon be followed by a major regeneration of the port of Grimsby – part of a wave of investment and regeneration that will see even more support and development for South Humber’s booming renewable energy sector.
A boost for employment and community
The East Coast Hub already provides jobs for 350 people in Grimsby and South Humber, benefiting from high levels of industrial skills and offshore experience amongst the local workforce. As time goes on, it will also help to deliver advances in training, investment and community development.
Ørsted has shown a deep commitment to the Grimsby area, sourcing more than 80% of the Hub’s personnel from within a one-hour commute and providing funding for local social and charitable projects. The company’s East Coast Community Fund has so far given £1.1 million, shared across 97 beneficiary organisations.
Integrated with the Humber’s energy ecosystem
The East Coast Hub lies within the wider Humber Energy Estuary cluster, which is home to manufacturing sites like the Siemens turbine blade production facility in Hull and the Able Marine Energy Park.
More locally, Ørsted’s hub is neighbour to Siemens, E.ON, RES and MHI Vestas, along with industry skills providers HOTA (offshore training), CATCH (industrial training), Maersk Training (offshore energy) and the Grimsby Institute (further education).
The UK’s wind power sweet-spot
In summary, Grimsby represents the best the UK has to offer for offshore wind energy O&M. For Ørsted, the port’s location, connectivity and industry cluster, along with local skills and training, made it the obvious location for a transformational inward investment project.