RWE picks Blyth for build-out of one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms

RWE will locate its Offshore Construction Base at Port of Blyth, home to the UK’s first offshore wind turbines. Selection is latest in multi-ports strategy for 1.4 gigawatt Sofia Offshore Wind Farm. The expanding Grimsby Hub has already been selected as Sofia Operations base.

RWE has signed up Port of Blyth as Offshore Construction Base for its 1.4 gigawatts (GW) Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, one of the world’s largest offshore wind projects.

Commissioned in December 2000, Blyth was home to the UK’s first offshore wind turbine pilot project, operated at the time by E.ON Climate and Renewables, whose activities have since become part of RWE. Turning full circle, Blyth will now be central to managing the offshore construction activities of RWE’s most modern and cutting-edge offshore wind farm, Sofia, located 195km off the UK coast on Dogger Bank, and which is progressing well with onshore works.

The new-build Offshore Construction Base (OCB) will be located at Port of Blyth’s recently redeveloped Bates Clean Energy Terminal, and will become the management centre for the RWE project’s vessels and logistics throughout the offshore construction phase in 2024. It will be managed and maintained by Port of Blyth in support of the project throughout the three-and-a-half years’ construction period.

Matthew Swanwick, RWE Project Director of Sofia, said: “Choosing the base for Sofia’s offshore construction has been a key decision as it will be home to the team for more than three years and will play a vital role in the successful completion of the project. The Port of Blyth offers us not only a strategic location and access to a strong marine supply chain but also an impressive new facility that will also ensure a legacy beyond the project.”

Supporting around-the-clock activities and with immediate and easy marine access, the Sofia Offshore Construction Base will have direct access to the port’s wide range of services as well as the redeveloped terminal’s heavy lift quay. Following the completion of the base in March 2023, a state-of-the-art Service Operations Vessel (SOV) will visit the port once every three weeks, during which time there will be a full day of crew transfers and restocking of the vessels. SOVs provide a floating home for offshore construction teams for up to three weeks at a time, ensuring experts are continually available, on site, improving efficiency of project delivery.

Once construction is finished, RWE will operate the wind farm from its Grimsby Hub, which is being expanded at its base on Royal Dock, Grimsby. However, the buildings will not go to waste and will be retained by the port for future use.

The 1.4GW Sofia Offshore Wind Farm project is located on Dogger Bank in the central North Sea, 195km off the North East coast of the UK. The Port of Blyth’s strategic mid North Sea location ensures it is well placed for supporting wind farm developments down the UK’s east coast.

RWE is one of the world’s leading offshore wind players, and a key partner in delivering the UK Government’s 50GW offshore wind target by 2030. Across the UK and Ireland, RWE has around 8 gigawatts (GW) (6.1 GW pro rata share) of offshore capacity under construction or development.