How Peel Ports Helps British Wind Farms Fly High

18 February 2020

Blog by Great Yarmouth Sales Manager, Ranjit Singh Nagra.

Last December the UK hit a record for renewable energy generation as wind generation broke through the 16GW threshold. The new energy record was set on Sunday 8th December, on which day National Grid said onshore and offshore wind generated up to 16,162GW, making up a 43.7% share of electricity produced that day.

However, Britain still lags behind world leading countries when it comes to renewable energy. According to recent global data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), while many EU countries are struggling to reach their 32% renewable energy usage target by 2030, nations such as Paraguay and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are already producing 100% renewable energy.

Although the UK has a higher percentage of renewable energy production than Germany and France, it is still lagging in terms of the generation of clean power behind 58 other countries. The report highlights nine South American and 15 African countries already have a cleaner fuel mix than the UK. One report analysing the study states: “If the EU has any hopes of hitting its 2030 energy targets, some serious developments need to be made.” One of the most promising growth areas for UK renewables is wind energy – the question is whether the infrastructure is in place to support that growth.

Offshore power

Last year, the Crown Estate launched round 4 of its offshore leasing programme for the development of offshore wind power, opening up the potential for at least 7GW (enough to power around six million homes) of new seabed rights for offshore wind development in the waters around England and Wales. Two of the areas of seabed that were included in the round 4 tender process are ‘Southern North Sea’ and ‘East Anglia’, both of which are located on the doorstep of Peel Ports Great Yarmouth.

Our Norfolk port has a proud record of supporting the development and ongoing maintenance of offshore wind installations across the North Sea. Great Yarmouth Port continues to support the developments off the East Coast, both directly and indirectly. The port has, through its deep-water Outer Harbour facility, been home to the construction of Scottish Power Renewables’ Galloper Windfarm and most recently the pre-assembly and construction Port for the EA1 windfarm. It also offers specialist infrastructure for the Offshore wind industry, including a heavy lift pad area, RoRo Ramp and over approx. 20 hectares of outdoor storage for windfarm components, including windfarm foundations. 

East coast growth

Our east coast location, coupled with minimal port restrictions, means vessels can be out in the fields a lot faster through reduced steaming times. Additionally, our river harbour can support CTV and SOV vessels used for the operation and maintenance of windfarms such as Equinor’s Dudgeons and Vattenfall’s newly announced Norfolk Vanguard offshore site.

With the growth in demand for east coast offshore wind projects, local ports will play a vital part. For example, turbines and other components are already significantly bigger and heavier than they were a decade ago, with upcoming models set to continue the trend. To accommodate this growth, we are looking to develop a brand new Southern Terminal, consisting of an additional 350m of quay, RoRo ramp, New Heavy Lift pad area and approx. 10 hectares of strengthened outdoor storage space.

We would welcome input from developers and tier 1 suppliers for such a development as to how best the investment can meet their needs. With the new terminal working in line with the existing Northern Terminal, we will be able to accommodate multiple projects at any one time.

Nor are we stopping there, as we have also established a footprint large enough to accommodate a large windfarm component manufacturer looking to enter the UK. So at Peel Ports, we can say with certainty that we are capable of supporting all windfarm industry port operations, including assembly, installation, operational & maintenance, and decommissioning.