UK: London Array O&M Base Boosts Local Job Market
London Array’s Operations & Maintenance (O&M) base at the Port of Ramsgate was officially opened by local MP Laura Sandys on Friday 9 March. The base will be home to around 70 wind farm technicians and up to 20 support staff, who’ll be responsible for operating and maintaining London Array for the next 20 years. Five maintenance vessels will also operate out of the base.
The O&M building houses computerised monitoring and control facilities, a workshop, offices and storage facilities. The complex has been built to tough environmental standards and features sustainable and recyclable building materials, a grass roof, an on-site combined heat and power plant and a design that makes the best use of natural light.
A boost for the local job market
Staff for the O&M base are being recruited by DONG Energy, London Array’s O&M Service Provider and one of the consortium partners, and Siemens, who’ll be working together to maintain the wind turbines for the first five years of operation. DONG Energy and Siemens are committed to making sure as many local people as possible benefit from the new jobs being created.
DONG Energy’s local Head of Operations, Gordon Dobbs, explains: “We’ve been working with local training providers to ensure that the right skills training is in place. We have an ongoing apprenticeship scheme at Swale Skills Centre in Sittingbourne where nine young people are currently undertaking a City & Guilds qualification for wind turbine technicians.
“The technicians we’ve already recruited are currently gaining experience at other offshore wind farms around the UK, ready for us to be fully operational later this summer.”
Other community benefits
London Array is also set to benefit the Ramsgate economy in other ways. It will be using a range of local support services, as well as employing people to maintain the wind farm and operate support vessels.
Michael O’Hare, General Manager (Operations) for London Array, comments: “We’re very pleased to be based at Ramsgate and look forward to developing a long-standing relationship with local residents and businesses.”
Offshore WIND staff, May 18, 2012; Image: Lonndon Array