Work to prepare former Grimsby fish docks for offshore wind energy industry to be toasted tomorrow
VITAL work to prepare the former fish docks for the onslaught of the offshore wind energy industry will be toasted tomorrow.
The extension of the lock gates at the entrance to Port of Grimsby East is now complete, increasing capacity for larger vessels to be used in the operations and maintenance of the hundreds of turbines to be built in the southern North Sea.
It was work that also helped clinch the deal to bring E.on to the town – with the Humber Gateway farm just a few miles off Spurn Point now in the early stages of construction.
The utility giant will bring 50 jobs to Grimsby, as anticipated, with a base within the enterprise zone area on North Quay.
That too will be celebrated with dignitaries on the quayside, as clearance work has now begun on site.
Vital improvements to the infrastructure were made possible through working in partnership with the local authority and other stakeholders, with support for the emerging industry and the potential to attract further inward investment the priority. A £500,000 contribution from North East Lincolnshire Council’s Change programme provided a vital boost to financing the works.
Martyn Boyers, chief executive of Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises, the company behind Port of Grimsby East as the dock is now branded, said: “We are delighted to have worked with the Change board in developing a lock gate extension. The increase in capacity was a crucial part of the project. We are also grateful to the support of Associated British Ports in bringing about these initiatives. This collaboration shows the strength of the port and underlines the opportunities to come.”
Centrica already has a brand new operational facility, with Siemens and RES also working in partnership. Several crew transfer vessels have already been launched in the port, with the industry well aware of the town’s geographical and sector support capabilities. With farms Lincs, Lynn and Inner Dowsing all being served, as well as the meteorological mast at Hornsea, Grimsby is regularly home to more than 20 dedicated vessels.
The lock gate improvements will enable a higher number of smaller craft to enter and leave the dock.
Dave Moseley, project manager with E.on said: “The site has been disused for a number of years and it is good to see it redeveloped. The facility, which will support the construction, operation and maintenance of the Humber Gateway wind farm, is currently under construction and is due to be complete this summer. Up to 50 jobs will also be created by the site.”
The celebration comes less than a fortnight after the Telegraph revealed Danish energy giant Dong’s plans for the town, just a few hundred yards from this investment, in the Royal Dock. That will serve Westermost Rough, also off the Yorkshire coast.
John Fitzgerald, port director of ABP Grimsby and Immingham said: “E.ON’s decision to commit to Grimsby underlines the growing reputation our port has for being the preferred choice for Europe’s leading offshore wind companies when they plan their operations and maintenance servicing strategy. The lock gate capacity upgrade and other likely infrastructure developments over the coming years will establish Port of Grimsby at the centre of this exciting new business opportunity.”
A £10-million funding kitty – ringfenced for South Bank renewables, is available for businesses to tap into in the industry, through the Regional Growth Fund. It offers up to £1 of Government-granted financial support for every £4 privately invested.
Councillor Peter Wheatley, portfolio holder for regeneration and environment at NELC, said: “This investment will help to create much needed jobs in the area, both directly and indirectly. It will breathe new life and regeneration into the port and bring new business to the town. This will also generate opportunities for our existing local businesses, through the supply chains, which will support new investors.”
The authority’s head of development, Jason Longhurst, added: “The lock gate extension is a crucial investment in the infrastructure of North East Lincolnshire. We are firmly committed to proactively working in partnership to offer the support required to enable the area to become the leading offshore operations and maintenance hub in the UK and Europe. “The arrival of E.on and the work they are starting on the enterprise zone is also excellent news and this development was enabled by working partnership to deliver the required infrastructure.
“On-going investment within this area can significantly benefit local businesses and communities bringing jobs and wealth into North East Lincolnshire and enabling the development of the Port of Grimsby and working towards achieving sustainable economic growth for the Humber and Lincolnshire.”
Full coverage of the celebratory event, see Saturday’s Grimsby Telegraph.