LONDON (Reuters) - Denmark’s DONG Energy (DENERG.CO) said on Thursday it would build a multi-million pound maintenance hub in Grimsby, northeast England, to provide services for its offshore wind operations.
The new facility would, subject to planning approval, be built at the town’s Royal Dock and provide maintenance support to the company’s wind farms in the region.
Britain is the world leader for installed offshore wind capacity, according to data from the Global Wind Energy Council, with 5 gigawatts of capacity in 2015, around 40 percent of global total.
“It represents a massive vote of confidence to the UK offshore wind industry and confirms our commitment to the Humber region where by 2019 we expect to have invested around 6 billion pounds,” Brent Cheshire, DONG Energy’s UK country chairman, said in a statement.
A spokesman for DONG said the facility would cost 10-20 million pounds and the company expects it to be fully operational by March 2018.
Grimsby, where many blame European Union fishing quotas for destroying jobs since the 1970s, was home to a fleet of 600 trawlers in its 1950s heyday but now there are hardly any and the town is struggling with poverty and unemployment.
Many British fishermen were vocal supporters of the successful campaign for Britain to vote to leave the EU in a referendum on June 23. The Brexit vote has raised concerns about foreign direct investment in the country.
DONG already has two operational wind farms on the east coast of England, Lincs and Westermost Rough, and two further projects, Race Bank and Hornsea One, under construction.
These wind farms combined are expected to provide electricity to around 1.5 million homes.
Offshore wind farms typically have annual maintenance checks, which are one of the largest running costs due to their location several kilometres out at sea.
The Grimsby site would house service operation vessels, supplied by Norwegian shipping company Ostensjo Rederi and designed by Britain’s Rolls-Royce (RR.L), which will be capable of accommodating up to 60 crew and technicians and remaining at sea for long periods, DONG said.
Once operational the site is expected to create around 250 direct jobs, the spokesman said.
Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Dale Hudson and Alexander Smith