Hutchison Ports Harwich International has hosted a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the official start of construction of the £10 million state-of-the-art operations & maintenance (O&M) base for Galloper Offshore Wind Farm.
Works on the new base, which will be home to the team of 60 who operate and maintain the 353 megawatt (MW) wind farm, are planned to take around 12 months to complete and create 120 direct and indirect local jobs.
Commenting on the start of works, Mark Seaman, Finance Director of Hutchison Ports (UK), owner of Harwich International, said:
“The O&M base represents the next logical step in the development of Harwich International as a major centre for the offshore sector. Our strategic location, providing sheltered, lock-free, facilities close to the North Sea is ideal for offshore support activities. Having already acted as the construction base for a number of wind farm developments, the new base will provide a purpose-built facility around which further opportunities in the offshore energy sector can be progressed over the next few years.”
Galloper General Manager Guy Middleton said - “The ground-breaking is a symbolic but significant milestone as it has been quite a journey for us to first select the location of the base and then take it through the onshore and offshore planning consent to now be at the stage where construction is underway.
“We are extremely grateful for the active support we have had throughout our process, from individuals including local Members of Parliament and Councillors, as well as organisations including the Port, Tendring District Council, Marine Management Organisation, Harwich Haven Authority and The Haven Gateway Partnership. I would also like to thank local businesses that were early to recognise the potential for the base to help regenerate the area.”
The Galloper O&M Base will comprise a 24/7 control room to monitor and manage all wind farm activity; a purpose built pontoon for the crew transfer vessels that take workers offshore daily; a fully-equipped gym; plus warehousing, office facilities and a new access road off the A120.
The Galloper team operating and maintaining the wind farm has been working out of temporary facilities in Harwich International since early 2017.