The opening ceremony of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm Operations and Maintenance Base was held at the Port of Tyne on Tuesday, March 14, with the site expected to employ around 400 people when it is fully up and running.
Costing £9billion, the renewable energy development will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm and it will be capable of powering one in five UK homes by 2026.
The Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a joint project which sees SSE Renewables as the lead operator for development and construction, and Norwegian energy giant Equinor as the lead operator of the wind farm on completion.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, the leader of South Tyneside Council, has praised the progress that has already been made in the relationship between Equinor and the local authority.
She said: “When the announcement came that Equinor was coming to South Tyneside, we were absolutely delighted but this is moving forward now; it is a momentous day for South Tyneside.
"Equinor has invested in the borough, they already work with our schools and local suppliers so now it is about making sure that our young people have the right skills to be able to come into Equinor.
"Four hundred jobs is great for South Tyneside but this being the Equinor headquarters for the region is amazing; we are delighted to have a partnership between Equinor and the Council.”
Peterlee-born Mark Halliday will oversee the day-to-day running of the wind farm after being appointed as operations director.
His father, Billy, was a coal miner at the Easington Colliery pit and now Mark is following in his dad’s footsteps by providing energy to homes across the country.
He commented: “My father was in the power industry from a fossil fuel point-of-view and now we’ve gone into the green revolution with renewables, so it is fantastic for me to be still in the North East as a local lad and follow in my father’s footsteps.
"I started in renewables over 20 years ago, I’ve worked all around the UK so to now be in the North East of England where I was brought up and to have this base which will operate what is going to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm is just phenomenal.”
Paul Eitrheim, EVP for Renewbales at Equinor, highlighted to the Gazette that it has been a long journey to getting the site fully operational.
He added: “This project has been a long time coming, we got the lease back in 2010 so we have been working very hard with SSE for a long time on this.
"I was here a year-and-a-half ago when it was just a flat piece of land so coming back today to open a fully open a fully functional operations and maintenance base is a really good day for Equinor and SSE, but also for the North East of England.”
The colossal farm will begin generating power in 2023, from its first phase – Dogger Bank A – and go on to provide about 5% of the UK’s entire energy needs by 2026, when phases B and C will also both be online.
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