Wind farm deal
North Star secures £270m Dogger Bank vessels
How they will look: the three vessels
An Aberdeen company has won a £270 million contract for three service vessels that will support the world’s biggest offshore wind farm.
North Star Renewables secured the highly-competitive international tender to design and deliver the ships for the 3.6 gigawatt Dogger Bank Wind Farm being built in the North Sea.
The wind farm is a joint venture involving Perth-based SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni and the contract represents the first major transition for North Star into the renewables sector.
It is also being seen as a commitment to ensuring UK companies receive a contracts and jobs dividend from the switch into renewable energy.
North Star will deliver the SOVs to Dogger Bank operator Equinor from Summer 2023 and will be chartered to the wind farm for a ten-year period, with an option for three one-year extensions.
North Star will create 130 full-time UK-based jobs in crewing and shore-based roles for the lifetime of the contract. Recruitment will start 12 months ahead of vessel delivery to Dogger Bank’s planned operations base in Port of Tyne.
The new positions will be based across Scotland and the north east of England and will grow North Star’s existing 1,400 strong workforce, 950 of which are in the UK, 350 in Scotland.
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This is excellent news for the Aberdeen-based North Star Renewables who are relatively new to the offshore wind sector but have a wealth of experience operating in the North Sea’s oil and gas sector.”
With a clear reference to the failure of the BiFab plant in Fife to secure work on another wind farm being built off the Scottish coast, she added: “This contract is a welcome example of our domestic supply chain benefiting from the operation and maintenance of an offshore wind project off our coastline, bringing jobs and employment opportunities to communities in Scotland.”
North Star chief executive, Matthew Gordon, said: “We have been working with our existing energy clients in the North Sea for over 40 years.
“We are now committed to building on the momentum of this contract award to further our diversification and firmly establish ourselves at the forefront of vessel design and delivery in the global renewables market.”
Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be located more than 130 km off the Yorkshire coast and will generate enough renewable energy to power six million UK homes.
SSE Renewables is leading on Dogger Bank construction and delivery while Equinor will operate the wind farm on completion.
As wind farm operator Equinor will begin taking delivery of the three SOVs from North Star at its Port of Tyne operations base from 2023, ahead of commissioning of the first phase of the giant offshore wind farm.
The contract award by Dogger Bank Wind Farm to North Star is seen as a commitment by the partners to support the development of a UK supply chain, creating substantial local jobs and maximising UK supply chain opportunities.
Halfdan Brustad, Vice President for Dogger Bank at Equinor, said he was pleased that a UK supplier wins these contracts in a tough international competition.
“The awards will create a good basis for North Star to expand their services to support the UK’s growing offshore wind sector. Dogger Bank is at the forefront of innovation, and we want to attract the best talents to come work on this ground-breaking project.”
In support of the contract, North Star will establish a new permanent presence at Port of Tyne, delivering a local economic and supply chain boost to the coastal region. This new base for North Star will build upon its existing UK operational bases in Aberdeen and Lowestoft.
The 3.6GW Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world when complete in 2026 and is being built in three equal phases of 1.2 GW; Dogger Bank A, B and C.
North Star will deliver one SOV to be used for scheduled maintenance at Dogger Bank A and B. The vessel is due to be delivered in January 2024 and will also serve Dogger Bank C when this phase of the wind farm is operational.
A further two SOVs will be delivered by North Star to be used for corrective maintenance, at Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B. Delivery of these vessels is scheduled for July 2023 and July 2024 respectively.
A further contract for an SOV to be used for corrective maintenance at Dogger Bank C will be awarded at a later stage.