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Dogger Bank Wind Farm unveils £1 million construction fund to help young people prepare for a net zero world

18th June 2021 in Press releases, Project news

  • The money will be focussed on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) learning, to help young people prepare for working life in a net zero world.
  • The programme will reach out to 142 UK schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire and North East of England, and support more than 25,000 young people.
  • 50 scholarships will also be available during the construction of the wind farm, for students in these communities studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects to support the cost of further education.
  • Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan hails investment as “innovative” way of supporting coastal communities.

Young people from coastal communities in the UK are set to share in a £1 million investment from Dogger Bank Wind Farm to prepare them for working life in a net zero world.

In a programme being developed in partnership with local authorities in the North and North East of England, a total of £1 million has been allocated during the construction of the wind farm, to put science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at the heart of children’s education, helping them prepare for jobs that will be vital to the green economic recovery of the UK. Additional community funding will be allocated throughout the operational phase of the windfarm.

This construction fund will initially focus on the areas of East Riding of Yorkshire, where the windfarm will connect to the National Grid, and South Tyneside, where the Operation and Maintenance Base will be located.

The programme has been developed with local skills and education stakeholders to ensure it meets local priorities with a focus on early years in East Riding of Yorkshire, and primary to secondary school transition in South Tyneside.

All 124 primary schools in East Riding of Yorkshire and all 18 secondary schools in South Tyneside will have the chance to increase and expand their current science, technology, engineering and maths provision.

Both areas will also look to use the support to enhance their career advice services for school leavers.

Plans are still being drawn up for how the programme will support youngsters in the Redcar and Cleveland area, where the third phase of the wind farm will connect to the National Grid at Lackenby. These will be confirmed when the third phase, Dogger Bank C, reaches its final investment decision later this year.

In addition to enhancing STEM provision in the classroom, during the construction of the wind farm 50 students from these areas will receive a scholarship to help with the cost of further education qualifications while studying STEM subjects.

The £1 million investment also includes an Operators Fund to support other local causes to the value of up to £500. Community projects and local organisations will be able to apply at www.doggerbank.com/about/community/

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm STEM investment is one of the largest commitments to skills ever made by the offshore wind sector.

In addition to this STEM fund, Dogger Bank Wind Farm will invest £13.5 million in the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership during its lifetime, a programme set up to support the growth of the UK offshore wind supply chain. Furthermore, 50% of the wind farm’s rental payments to the Crown Estate will support the Coastal Communities Fund, a UK Government-funded initiative to support the economic  growth of coastal areas. Under the current arrangement the funds received by the Coastal Communities Fund will equate to 1% of the wind farm’s gross revenue, which could amount to tens of millions of pounds being invested in coastal communities during the operation of Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Gillian Keegan, said:

“As we recover from the pandemic, we’re investing billions of pounds to help the UK become a global leader in green technologies. This includes the creation of up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 through our Ten Point Plan, which will be critical in delivering a green industrial revolution. It’s fantastic to see the developers of Dogger Bank Wind Farm supporting this by investing in science, technology, engineering and maths skills. Not only is the world’s largest offshore wind farm pioneering new technology, it is also innovating in the way it’s supporting coastal communities to ensure young people are equipped to access the green jobs of the future.”

MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, said:

“This is such an exciting opportunity for our young people to learn and enhance STEM skills that will equip them and put them at the forefront of skilled jobs in the green economy. I want to thank the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project’s continued investment and commitment to our community, wider region and people.” 

Beverley and Holderness MP, Graham Stuart, said:

“This investment from Dogger Bank Wind Farm is really welcome news, and it’s great that it will benefit children across the East Riding and in my constituency of Beverley & Holderness.

“Building up our domestic offshore wind capacity is bringing multiple benefits – from helping us meet our renewable energy commitments, to bringing skilled jobs to the area, to investing in our children’s education.

“I look forward to supporting Dogger Bank into the future as they generate tens of millions of pounds worth of investment into our area.”

Steve Wilson, Project Director from Dogger Bank Wind Farm, said:

“We are proud that alongside the jobs and supply chain investments we’ve already attracted to these local economies, we can also help make a real difference to the lives of people in our local communities with this innovative package of support.

“We estimate more than 25,000 young people from 142 schools in the north and north-east of England will benefit from this funding, as we open their eyes to the green industry opportunities of our net zero future.

“Renewable energy will increasingly become a source of skilled jobs in the UK as we come through the pandemic, and rebuild our economy. This is one of the most significant investments the offshore wind industry has made in future skills, and could be the key to unlocking the future potential of many young people, as we put STEM skills at the very heart of their learning.”

Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be located more than 130 km off the Yorkshire coast and will generate enough renewable energy to power six million UK homes. A joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni, SSE Renewables is leading on Dogger Bank construction and delivery while Equinor will operate the wind farm for its lifetime, from a new base to be constructed at Port of Tyne.

Work is already underway on the first two phases of the development in East Riding to prepare the 30km cable route from Ulrome to Creyke Beck Substation, near Beverley.

Ends

For further information:

Media contact – Dogger Bank Wind Farm:

Jason Cooke, SSE Renewables

Jason.cooke@sse.com

+353 (0) 86 264 6710

 

Media contact – Dogger Bank Wind Farm:

Rachel Lawrence, SSE Renewables

rachel.lawrence@sse.com

+44 (0) 7385 368783

UK civil engineering company extends its work on Dogger Bank Wind Farm with new contract

11th June 2021 in Press releases, Project news

Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK has been appointed to deliver the enabling works package for the onshore convertor station platforms for the third phase of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, in a joint contract with neighbouring Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.

Jones Bros has been engaged by RWE’s Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, to manage the works on behalf of both Sofia and Dogger Bank C to minimise disruption to those living or working near the site.

The Jones Bros works will include providing a level load-bearing stone platform for the converter stations; two new accesses to the site with associated bellmouths; welfare and laydown areas; drainage system, and associated utilities.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is currently being developed in three 1.2GW phases: Dogger Bank A, B and C. Dogger Bank A and B is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40 per cent), Equinor (40 per cent) and Eni (20 per cent), while Dogger Bank C is a 50:50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.

Dogger Bank A and B will connect to the National Grid near Beverley in East Riding of Yorkshire, while Dogger Bank C will connect to the National Grid at Lackenby, on Teesside.

North Wales-based Jones Bros started work on the land-based infrastructure for the first two phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm last year, and has recently increased its team to 90 as work ramps up in preparation for the installation of 80 miles of underground cables from Ulrome to the onshore convertor station near Beverley.

On Teesside, between 25 and 30 Jones Bros workers will be on the site at any one time on behalf of Sofia Offshore Wind Farm and Dogger Bank C, with completion scheduled for April 2022.

The new contract win for the civil engineering firm is also expected to deliver opportunities for apprenticeships in the north-east of England as well as for suppliers such as fencing, haulage and other materials.

Eryl Roberts, contracts director at Jones Bros, said:

“We’re very pleased to be continuing our relationship with SSE and Equinor, both of whom are involved with Dogger Bank A and B, and look forward to developing our relationship with RWE.

 “Both Sofia and Dogger Bank C are significant projects in their own right and will deliver 1.4GW and 1.2GW of renewable power respectively once complete.

 “As with all of our projects, we will look to provide opportunities locally in the supply chain as well as for apprentices.”

Work is now underway and is expected to take approximately 10 months to complete.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm Project Director, Steve Wilson, said:

“This is a great opportunity for us to extend our collaboration with UK-based Jones Bros, following the start on the first two phases of the wind farm in East Riding. We’re also delighted to be working with Sofia Wind Farm in an innovative way, to ensure the impact on the local community on Teesside is minimal.”

 Sofia Project Director Matthew Swanwick said:

“This is a unique and complex project given the close cooperation between two separate wind farm developers, to the point of sharing a contractor for the early onshore construction activity, and so we welcome being able to leverage the breadth of experience Jones Bros. has had on previous UK infrastructure projects.”

 

 

Finance Director blog

8th June 2021 in Blogs, Project news

In December we ended an extraordinary year for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm with a prestigious award from Project Finance International, as their Global Green Deal of the Year. Since then we’ve gone on to scoop Global Trade Review’s Best Deal of the Year, and TXF named us ECA-Backed Deal of the Year.

From historically low strike prices to unprecedented global economic uncertainty, Project Finance Director Oliver Cass (picture below) updates us on what made the financial close on the first two phases of the project a global phenomenon.

Dogger Bank Finance Director, Oliver Cass, on what made financial close on Dogger Bank A and B a global phenomenon

World’s biggest offshore wind farm

“The first thing that makes this milestone standout from any other offshore wind financing deal is the sheer scale of the project. Together, the three phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm make it the world’s largest development of its kind, with a capacity to provide renewable energy for 6 million UK households.

“A large development needs a large financial package, and they don’t come bigger or much more complex than the financial close of Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B.”

29 lenders, 3 export credit agencies and 10 contracting parties

“To close these deals we had to manage the expectations of 29 lenders and 3 export credit agencies for each phase, as well as 10 diverse contracting parties.

“The need for structure from the very outset of the project has never been more important. We couldn’t afford for any part of the process to be derailed, so we had to make certain our business case was watertight at a very early stage.

“We carried out comprehensive market sounding in Q1 to test the structural features of the project, engaging early on with export credit agencies to make sure they were on board. We issued the banks with very detailed due diligence and a full set of financing documentation.

“Getting the conditions right and maximizing competitiveness, while aligning the banks and ECAs was critical.”

Two deals

“Of course, the question most analysts have been itching to ask us is why we did two separate deals. The truth is whatever we did, we knew it was going to be a complex process with very bespoke arrangements.

“We knew we needed 5 to 6 billion pounds of debt and we were launching the project at the start of COVID, when there were concerns about the appetite in the debt market for a single project of that size.

“And while the two phases are very closely interlinked with the same tier one suppliers and a shared onshore cable route, we felt we would have greater success by offering two separate financings, ensuring maximum liquidity and competition, and optimising value for our shareholders.

“Reflecting on the situation now, I wouldn’t change how we structured the two deals.”

Global pandemic

“Looking back to the early COVID world, there was a lot of concern in Spring that the global markets would be paralysed by the growing threat the pandemic posed.

“In the pre-COVID world we all thought 2020 was going to be an extraordinary market, and we were unexpectedly faced with the task of ensuring our lenders were happy with these new and emerging risks.

“To achieve financial close on time on two phases with the high volume of lenders and contracting parties was a huge success in its own right. To do this against the backdrop of a global pandemic was both unexpected and an extraordinary achievement for every person involved.”

Innovation and expertise

“And then there is the project itself. A brand-new turbine and HVDC technology not used in the UK for offshore wind before. Pioneering new technology is both exciting and challenging, but in the financial world you need to prove it’s a beneficial differentiator.

“If I had to single out one part of the process that really stood out from anything else, it’s the team. With a Herculean effort to negotiate and sign contracts with 10 major contracting parties for each phase, not to mention the unrivalled commitment from many people from multiple other organisations.

“This, together with the engineering excellence and sheer scale of the project, meant we were able to deliver a business case that works for lenders and shareholders at historic low strike prices.”

Historic low strike prices

“A couple of years ago it would not have been believed that a business case would stand up at such low strike prices, and that’s probably one of the stand-out characteristics of this eye-opening deal.

“It was always going to be a fine balancing act between cost and certainty, and the project proved to be sufficiently well-developed to get through financial close without a huge amount of contingency funding.

 “Looking forward to financial close on Dogger Bank C later this year, we already anticipate interest being extremely high. We’ve had lots of lenders keen to get started on this third phase and we’re hugely excited about what can be achieved.

“To close the year with an award from Project Financing International and then go on to secure further recognition in 2021 is very rewarding for those who worked incredibly hard to achieve this gargantuan and complex financing against a backdrop of the biggest health and social challenge for generations.”

UK-based Jones Bros picks up pace with onshore infrastructure

28th May 2021 in Project news

Civil engineering work is being ramped up on the world’s largest offshore wind farm, as the team prepares for the installation of 80 miles of cable.

Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK has brought in extra teams as it picks up the pace following a winter pause.

The team is currently working on the grid connection and land-based infrastructure for the first two phases of the wind farm, which will connect to the National Grid at the Creyke Beck substation, near Beverley, East Yorkshire.

With 70 representatives now on site, the North-Wales headquartered company will install 80 miles of cable along the East Riding of Yorkshire cable route, with the first cable deliveries due in the Summer.

James Lockwood, Jones Bros project m:anager, said:

“It’s really pleasing to be able to ramp up the pace now we’ve brought the second trenching team onto the site.

“Horizontal directional drilling has also resumed on the parts of the site where trench digging isn’t possible because of obstacles like roads or watercourses along with pre-construction land drainage, and construction of the of the remaining internal site access tracks

“Over winter, the focus has been on maintenance and creating site access roads. We had a scheduled break due to the prevailing conditions, but all eyes are now on moving the project forward with further installation of electrical ducts, construction of the joint bays, and preparing for the delivery of the high voltage cables.”

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being developed in three 1.2GW phases: Dogger Bank A, B and C.

Dogger Bank A and B is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40 per cent), Equinor (40 per cent) and Eni (20 per cent), while Dogger Bank C is a 50:50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.

Onshore Project Manager for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, Oliver Flattery, said:

“Despite the challenges thrown up by the global pandemic, the project remains on track and I’m pleased to say we’ve been able to achieve our first major milestones safely, and on time. The safety of our communities and those working on our sites remains of paramount importance to us as we pick up pace in 2021, and start installing the cables that will provide renewable energy for UK households.”

Dogger Bank Wind Farm to pioneer technique that will cut welding times by up to 80 percent

27th May 2021 in Press releases, Project news

The developers of the world’s largest offshore wind farm will carry out the first large-scale pilot of an innovative new process that will reduce welding times by as much as 80%.

Ebflow Reduced Pressure Electron Beam (RPEB) welding is expected to be used at the Dogger Bank A phase of the wind farm, to fabricate welds on offshore wind foundation monopiles, reducing the amount of time it takes to  carry out the task from a number of hours to a matter of minutes. It will be the first time RPEB has been used on a large-scale offshore infrastructure project and has come about as part of a collaborative partnership named RapidWeld.

The Rapidweld project aims to create an industry-approved weld process for offshore wind which is more productive and sustainable than established methods, while reducing energy and material costs significantly.

The Ebflow technique will streamline the fabrication process for offshore wind farms, further increasing the efficiency of large-scale projects and demonstrating increased cost-effectiveness of renewable energy for consumers.

Ebflow RPEB will also reduce the carbon emissions associated with the traditional welding methods by 90 percent.*

A joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni, SSE Renewables is leading on the construction and delivery of Dogger Bank while Equinor will operate the wind farm on completion. When complete, Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

 Steve Wilson, SSE Renewables Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, Project Director said:

“This is a ‘first-in-class’ project, establishing this UK innovation as world-leading technology. With monopile type foundations accounting for over 90% of foundations used in UK projects, Ebflow RPEB could realise significant cost savings on future projects.

“These substantial savings will not only benefit the UK offshore engineering industry but could be passed on to UK energy consumers.

 “It’s exciting that Ebflow is being used at Dogger Bank – a project which continues to contribute to the UK economy by creating jobs and supporting the supply chain. No doubt, other offshore projects across the world could ultimately benefit from what the Rapidweld partnership achieves.” 

The project has been made possible with a smart grant of £600k from Innovate UK, which is part of the UK Government backed Research and Innovation organisation.

The RapidWeld project team comprises of: SSE Renewables; Aquasium Technologies (trading as Cambridge Vacuum Engineering), the SME designer and manufacturer of the RPEB equipment; Sif, a global leading manufacturer of offshore foundations; and, TWI, the UK’s foremost welding research establishment.

Sif will be responsible for the fabrication and supply of 190 monopiles and primary steel for the transition pieces, as well as for the marshalling of all foundation components for the first two phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

Chief Operating Officer for Sif, Frank Kevenaar said:

“We see great potential in the Ebflow RPEB welding process for thick section welding. Reduced distortion and elimination of filler material are, amongst others, great advantages. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this innovative project that is joining forces and expertise to create new cost-effective production methods.”

How Ebflow RPEB works

Ebflow RPEB uses heat generated by a beam of high-energy electrons to make a high strength and durable welded steel join in a clean and efficient way.

The Rapidweld project is expected to develop methods which outstrip existing welding technology and reduce the costs of future offshore wind foundation monopiles by up to 20%.