German renewable energy firm RWE has selected Port of Blyth as offshore construction base for its 1.4 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," RWE said.
The new-build offshore construction base will be located at Port of Blyth’s recently redeveloped Bates Clean Energy Terminal, and will become the management center 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.
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 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," RWE said.
The 1.4GW Sofia offshore wind farm project is located on Dogger Bank in the central North Sea, 195 km 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 said.