The development of one of the UK’s largest deep-water offshore energy bases has reached a major new milestone.
Work has begun on the building of a temporary works cofferdam at Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 in Blyth, in Northumberland, North East England – which will enable the construction of a new dock.
Northumberland Energy Park is part of Energy Central, the UK’s unique port-based service, investment and growth cluster for companies operating in the offshore energy and subsea markets. Energy Central is a partnership between Advance Northumberland, Port of Blyth, Northumberland County Council and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. It offers nearly 200 HA of strategic, quay linked development sites.
The new dock, which is being funded by a £32 million public sector investment is an extension of the current dock facilities – and work is set to be completed on the project by May 2021.
The dock will allow companies locating to Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 to benefit from direct quay access to a 50m x 210m deep water berth on the River Blyth. Dredging work will increase its current depth of 5.0 LAT to 9.0 LAT, and the dock will have jack up barge vessel capability.
Nearby Battleship Wharf, which is also part of the Energy Central cluster, offers an additional four deep water berths, and there are additional marine facilities at The Port of Blyth, which has access to open sea within 0.5 NM.
Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 is situated on the site once occupied by the Blyth Power Station facility, a pair of coal-fired power stations which were demolished between 2001 and 2003. It offers 36 HA of development land, including an 11.12 HA North East Enterprise Zone site, where businesses receive up to 100 per cent capital allowance for investment in plant and equipment.
Further development is planned for the 35 HA Northumberland Energy Park Phase 2 and the 95 HA Northumberland Energy Park Phase 3.
Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 provides a prime investment opportunity for large-scale advanced manufacturing and engineering companies who supply products and services to the UK’s growing offshore wind industry, which is being supported by the UK Government’s Offshore Wind Sector Deal.
The site is strategically located for market access to offshore energy developments in the North Sea, including Round 3 Zone offshore wind projects at Dogger Bank, Hornsea and the Firth of Forth.
In addition, Northumberland Energy Park is situated in close proximity to the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult at Blyth, which operates the largest concentration of multi-purpose offshore renewable energy test and research facilities in the world.
Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 has a current power capacity of up to 20 MVA, with the potential to have a capacity of up to 140 MVA, due to links to renewable energy sources both onshore and offshore. The site is also close to a National Grid substation, offering an access point to the National Grid, and the North Sea Link – an electricity link between the UK and Norway, which will be the longest subsea interconnector in the world when it opens in 2021.
Northumberland Energy Park has easy access to the UK’s motorway network for the A1 and is 20 minutes from Newcastle International Airport. It also has established freight rail access and has rapid links to the UK’s high-speed rail network via nearby Newcastle Central Station.
Richard Wearmouth, Chair of Advance Northumberland said, “The commencement of work on the cofferdam is a huge step forward in the development of Northumberland Energy Park – and the new dock will further enhance the vast array of facilities available at Energy Central for businesses servicing the offshore wind sector.
“With Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1, we are building on Blyth’s heritage in power generation, transforming a site previously associated with the fossil fuel industry and turning it into a major asset for the renewable energy sector, while supporting the UK’s shift to clean growth.
“With its exceptional dock, transport and power infrastructure, and prime position within the thriving Energy Central cluster, Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 offers a highly attractive opportunity for investors – and will reinforce Blyth’s international standing within the offshore wind industry.”
Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, (North East LEP), said, “Offshore wind is highlighted in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan as being an area of opportunity for growth, with the potential to create more and better jobs in the region.
“Northumberland Energy Park will play a key role in exploiting this opportunity which is why we have invested more than £19 million into the Phase 1 site remediation and infrastructure, which includes £4.4 million of Local Growth Fund funding. The new dock will further enhance the site which already benefits from Enterprise Zone status, making it a very attractive offer for investors.”
Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive of Port Of Blyth, commented, “The development of the Northumberland Energy Park site will make a significant contribution to the ongoing growth in the offshore industry on the Blyth estuary, supporting the existing operational assets at the Port of Blyth and helping the UK achieve its low carbon supply chain targets in the renewables industry.”