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Next Generation Blades To Be Built In Hull

Posted: 08/06/2021

Categories: Work at Height

Blades for the 14MW turbines for the Sofia offshore wind farm, previously known as Dogger Bank Teesside B, are to be constructed in Hull, as renewable energy firm RWE signs off on 100 14MW turbines that will require 200 108 metre-long blades.

Business Live reports that the first commercial order has been confirmed by Siemens Gamesa CEO Clark MacFarlane, and a total of 100 turbines will sail to Dogger Bank from the Humber.

While addressing the Humber’s Offshore Wind Connections conference, McFarlane provided details on planned expansions at Green Port Hull, saying: “Today we manufacture blades - in one building - that are 81m long, that will be going out to Hornsea Two, and we are in the pre-assembly stage in the port for the 8MW turbine.

“That’s not what it is going to look like very soon. In five years time, it will be a 14MW turbine for Sofia going out from the Humber. That’s a completely different size, shape and logistics that we have to account for. That won’t be one building, that will be two or three.”

There has been £300 million already spent on the Hull site, and plans have been submitted for the expansion, which is expected to significantly increase job numbers, adding to the 856 already employed.

RWE placed the order for the turbines in March this year that will go to the 593 Sofia site off the coast of North Yorkshire, and the 300 blades to be used there are over six times longer than any ever installed, reaching 33 metres longer than the first produced in Hull for Orsted’s Race Bank wind farm off the coast of Norfolk.

The blades will start being built in 2023, and be installed on turbines in 2025. The blades will be shipped together with other component parts that will arrive on the quayside, and McFarlane is confident in predicting there will be further manufacturing.

He added that companies need work in the pipeline, and the work is certainly going to come.

“Not everything is happening in the short term, and while we look forward to a very busy decade, it doesn’t kick off with a vast amount of work for everybody until 2023,” he said.

He added that in terms of a planning horizon for the industry, 2023 is only around the corner.

“We are no longer pushing local content, it is being pulled by government so there is a desire from companies to see what we in the UK can offer - that’s a better position than we have been in for industry in the last few years,” he said.

The recent Freeport status of Humber will also enhance opportunities for the region, he believes, urging others to follow Siemens Gamesa’s manufacturing lead, saying there is potential for towers, foundations and hydrogen.

He warned that if businesses do not grow and take ‘a slice of UK content’, of which he says there is plenty, then others will.

If you’re looking to improve your site emergency response plans, require advice on your work at heights or confined space operations, or require GWO training for your offshore teams, visit our website today for more information.