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.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
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%.
- World’s largest offshore wind farm confirms GE Renewable Energy turbine supply and service contracts for Dogger Bank C, the third and final phase of 3.6GW project.
- GE expects to create up to 470 green jobs for the UK in support of the delivery and operation of all three phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm.
- GE Renewable Energy now confirmed to supply 277 units of its ground-breaking Haliade-X turbine to all three phases of Dogger Bank.
- Dogger Bank C contracts mark first commercial commitment for upscaled 14MW Haliade-X turbine.
Tuesday 18 May 2021: Dogger Bank Wind Farm and GE Renewable Energy have today announced they have finalised contracts for the supply of turbines and a five-year service and warranty agreement for Dogger Bank C, confirming a total of 87 units of the 14MW Haliade-X turbine for the third and final phase of the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
These contract awards, which are subject to Dogger Bank C reaching Financial Close in late 2021, mean GE Renewable Energy is now confirmed to supply a total of 277 units of its ground-breaking Haliade-X turbine to all three phases of this world-class renewable energy project to be constructed off the north-east coast of England.
Dogger Bank C is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (50%) and Equinor (50%) while Dogger Bank A and B are owned by SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni (20%).
With the completion of all turbine supply and service contracts for the 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm, GE Renewable Energy has increased its estimate of UK green jobs it expects to create in support of the delivery and operation of all three phases of the project to around 470 – almost twice the 240 estimate announced last September.
These new roles bring the total number of UK jobs that will be created to support the delivery and operation of Dogger Bank Wind Farm to almost 3,000 so far.
As previously announced, the A and B phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be the first to install GE’s Haliade-X 13 MW, following a record-breaking order for 190 turbines. Today’s announcement confirms an additional order of 87 upscaled Haliade-X 14 MW turbines for Dogger Bank C. Turbine installation for Dogger Bank C is set to begin in 2025 ahead of completion of the overall project in 2026. The contracts mark the first commercial commitment for this ground-breaking turbine, as well as the first time ever a 14MW Haliade-X will be installed in the world. One spin of the Haliade-X can generate enough electricity to power a UK household for more than two days.
SSE Renewables is leading on the construction and delivery of all three phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Equinor will operate Dogger Bank Wind Farm on completion.
Steve Wilson, SSE Renewables Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, said:
“This is an exciting milestone and marks our continued progress towards financial close for the third phase of the wind farm, expected later this year. We’re particularly proud that through our confirmation with GE of turbine contracts for the delivery of all three phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the project will be responsible for the creation of hundreds more green UK jobs, both during construction and through to servicing. We now look forward to continuing our close collaboration with GE on this phase of the project and to demonstrating how the impressive Haliade-X technology can be installed safely, efficiently, and on a significant scale for the first time, during delivery of our world-class offshore wind project.”
John Lavelle, President & CEO of GE Renewable Energy’s Offshore Wind Business said:
“We are delighted to have passed yet another milestone in our collaboration with Dogger Bank with the finalization of the supply and service contracts for Dogger Bank C. Bringing the Haliade-X 14 MW to the third phase of the project proves that GE has the technology and know-how to address the fast-paced changes in the offshore industry. With all contracts signed, we are now looking forward to the next phases of our collaboration with Dogger Bank. Together, we will make a big contribution to the ever-accelerating energy transition in the UK.”
Halfdan Brustad, vice president for Dogger Bank at Equinor, said:
“This contract award represents much more than good progress on the project. It shows innovation, confirming Dogger Bank will be the first project to install the latest models of powerful turbines. It shows how Dogger Bank is creating highly skilled jobs in the North of England, across the construction and operation phases of the wind farm. It shows continuation of a strong, collaborative relationship between us and our partners, SSE Renewables, and our supplier GE Renewable Energy. Dogger Bank is truly a world-leading project and we look forward to working with our partners and suppliers to deliver this project to the UK.”
The 470 jobs being announced today by GE to support delivery of Dogger Bank A, B and C are almost twice the number of roles which the company said last September it expected to create associated with turbine installation and servicing.
The increased estimate of 470 roles is made up of around 300 skilled roles for installation and commissioning activities across all three consecutive phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm and 170 servicing roles under GE’s five-year Service and Warranty Agreements for Dogger Bank phases A, B and C.
The 300 construction roles will be based out of locations across the north-east of England to be announced by GE in due course and include the 120 construction jobs already announced at Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool.
GE’s 170 full-time turbine servicing jobs for Dogger Bank phases A, B and C will be based out of the Port of Tyne. These jobs include the 120 servicing roles previously confirmed by GE last September for phases A and B of Dogger Bank, plus an additional 50 new roles thanks to the five-year Service and Warranty Agreement for Dogger Bank C. GE’s full-service agreements will begin as each phase of the wind farm is commissioned, beginning with Dogger Bank A in late 2023.
GE Renewable Energy has already commenced recruitment for some of these roles, and is currently hiring for its early works team, with more opportunities to follow. Full details of current available opportunities can be found at GE Renewable Energy’s Careers Website.
A total of 200 roles will be needed to operate and maintain Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Under the five-year Service and Warranty Agreements, 170 of these will initially be employed by GE Renewable Energy. The remainder of operational and maintenance roles will be employed by wind farm operator Equinor and will include management, engineers, planners, administration and health and safety personnel. All Equinor and GE personnel will be co-located at Dogger Bank’s operations base at Port of Tyne for the five-year duration of the Service and Warranty Agreements.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm is located over 130 km off the north-east coast of England and each phase will be able to produce 6TWh of renewable electricity, totalling 18TWh annually, when complete in 2026, equivalent to powering six million UK homes each year or around 5% of the UK’s electricity demand. Due to its size and scale, the site is being built in three consecutive phases; Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C.
Picture caption: Dogger Bank Wind Farm has confirmed GE Renewable Energy will supply and install 277 units of its ground-breaking Haliade-X turbine at the project following finalisation of all turbine supply and service contracts for what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. As a result GE expects to create up to 470 green jobs for the UK in support of the delivery and operation of all three phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm. These new roles bring the total number of UK jobs that will be created to support the delivery and operation of Dogger Bank Wind Farm to almost 3,000 so far. Picture source: GE Renewable Energy.
For further information:
Media contact – Dogger Bank Wind Farm:
Richard Holligan, SSE Renewables
+44 (0) 7341 725026
Media contact – Dogger Bank Wind Farm:
Rachel Lawrence, SSE Renewables
+44 (0) 7385 368783
Media contact – GE Renewable Energy:
+33 6 73 19 59 64