Offshore wind

The Yorkshire and Humber region offers significant opportunities for businesses targeting the wind energy market, as the Humber estuary is centrally located to the three largest Round 3 offshore wind development zones - Dogger Bank, Hornsea and Norfolk. The region is already home to over 20 wind energy projects, including two of the UK's largest offshore wind farms, currently under development – the Humber Gateway and Westernmost Rough.

Yorkshire & Humber is also home to the largest ports complex in the UK and is a gateway for access into Europe. The port of Grimsby is a leading player in the provision of Operations & Maintenance bases for wind farms and currently provides facilities for the operations activity of Siemens and Centrica. Immingham port handles large assemblies from Sheffield and it has a number of development sites suitable for the pre-assembly, manufacture and construction of wind turbines. Hull, located on the North bank of the Humber, has excellent road and rail links and offers a number of large development sites for both manufacturing and pre-assembly.

The SMart Wind consortium

The Crown Estate manage the property portfolio which includes the offshore sea bed off the coast of Hornsea. They awarded the contract to develop 4GW of wind farms in the ‘Hornsea’ zone to the SMart Wind consortium, led by Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Project Ventures (SPV), a division company of Siemens Financial Services. The construction is due to begin in 2014, with the target to complete all work by 2020.

Roger Bright CB, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate states that offshore wind will "make a major contribution to the UK meeting their climate change targets" while also having the potential to "create at least 50,000 jobs".

View the announcement by Roger Bright below

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Commenting on the announcement, Mainstream Renewable Power’s Chief Executive, Dr Eddie O’Connor, said, “This is about delivering a whole new industry for the UK, one that provides sustainable, secure and indigenous power as well as tens of thousands of new jobs throughout the supply chain. This will have a major impact on the long-term economic development of the UK as well as positioning it as the global leader in offshore wind generation. It is our intention to work closely with local communities to ensure that this new industry brings real opportunities for jobs, training and new business”.

You can view Eddie O'Connor's speech here.

Key facts on the Hornsea offshore zone (zone 3)

  • The Hornsea zone will provide enough electricity to meet 4% of all electricity demand in the UK and power approximately 3 million homes.
  • The UK goal for renewable electricity generation is approximately 30%. Hornsea’s offshore generation will account for approximately 12% of that target
  • The width of the Hornsea zone is approximately equivalent to the width of the UK from Liverpool to Hull.
  • The total zone area is 4,735 km².
  • The zone lies between 34km and 190km off the Yorkshire coast.
  • Water depths across the zone are predominantly between 30 and 40m, with maximum depths to 70m.
  • The zone is adjacent to the River Humber, 200km south of Newcastle and 75km north of The Wash.
  • The Humber estuary is triangulated by three main population centres, Hull to the north, Grimsby to the southeast and Scunthorpe to the southwest.

How many offshore zones are there?

Hornsea is one of nine zones to be developed in the seas around Great Britain as part of The Crown Estate’s Round 3 programme, and with a total planned installed capacity of 32GW this is enough to meet a quarter of the UK's electricity needs.

With a total investment of more than EUR 111 bn (£100 bn) for all nine zones, the wind farms are to become part of the world’s largest energy infrastructure programme.