Construction to Start on ‘Net-Zero Carbon’ O&M Base for World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

Construction works on the operations and maintenance (O&M) base for what will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank project, are expected to start this month. Announcing that the O&M base will be constructed and operated in line with the UK Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework on 14 September, the developer said the work was expected to start in the third quarter of 2021.

The facility is scheduled to be built by the end of the third quarter of 2022, ahead of wind farm operations starting in 2023, from when around 200 people will be based there and work on operating and maintaining the wind farm. Recruitment will ramp up in 2022, as the project looks to fill roles including wind farm technicians, health and safety professionals, project planners and engineers.

In July, Equinor received permission from the South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee to build the Dogger Bank Wind Farm’s operations and maintenance base in the Port of Tyne, on a 1.82-hectare site at the former McNultys Quay, Corstorphine Town, South Shields.

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The O&M base has been designed by Ryder Architecture, headquartered in Newcastle. The construction project is being managed by Equinor, which has contracted global real estate advisor CBRE as the local Project Manager, and Bowmer + Kirkland (B+K) as the Principal Contractor for the facility.

CBRE is overseeing the Project and Cost Management for the project. In addition, CBRE is providing Mechanical and Electrical Design, Sustainability and Environmental Consultancy. Bowmer + Kirkland has been appointed to perform detailed design and build the facility, including office space, a large warehouse to store spare parts, car parking and HGV yard as well as an outside recreational area.

The 3,407-square-metre base will use low carbon materials and will meet the highest energy efficiency classifications, according to the offshore wind farm developer. Solar PV panels will be installed for onsite renewable generation, and EV charging points will be available so staff and visitors can travel there in low emissions vehicles.

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“In the UK, the industry recognised framework for verifying the Net Zero Carbon (NZC) performance of the built environment, both during construction and operational phases, is provided by the UK Green building council (UKGBC). There are two strands to this framework, principles for NZC construction and principles to be applied for operational NZC; both of which will be applied to the base”, Dogger Bank Wind Farm said.

CBRE will work closely with the project team to apply industry recognised approaches to material selection, operational energy modelling and carbon accounting, submitting a final evidence pack for third party review.

The project has also set an internal carbon price (ICP) for the facility, with consideration of this ICP rate alongside the market cost of associated materials allowing the design team to make a financial case for selecting materials with best-in-class environmental performance, according to Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

The O&M base for Dogger Bank offshore wind farm is not the only net-zero-oriented part of the project, as the developer has already announced it will use the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission vessel (ULEv) to install the project’s wind turbines, and the Service Operations Vessels (SOVs) to be used during operations will be fitted with a hybrid battery system to reduce emissions even further. 

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The 3.6 GW Dogger Bank is being built in three equal phases of 1.2 GW each and, once commissioned, will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Dogger Bank A and B, owned by Equinor, SSE Renewables and Eni, will feature 190 Haliade-X 13 MW turbines, scheduled to deliver first electricity in 2023. Dogger Bank C, owned by Equinor and SSE Renewables, will comprise 87 GE Haliade-X 14 MW units. It is being developed on a different timescale with the operation date set for 2026.

SSE Renewables is leading the construction of the wind farm and Equinor will operate the wind farm for its lifetime of up to 35 years.

Photo: Dogger Bank Wind Farm