Work begins on £10m wind farm base in Harwich

Breaking the ground at the site of the Galloper Operations & Maintenance Base are (from left): Colin

Breaking the ground at the site of the Galloper Operations & Maintenance Base are (from left): Colin Garrod (Contracts Manager, Jackson Civil Engineering Group), Daren Taylor (GM, Harwich International Port), Guy Middleton (GM, Galloper), Zoe Fairley (Cabinet Member for Investment and Growth, Tendring District Council) and James Wilson (Director and GM, RG Carter). Picture: Galloper - Credit: Archant

A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Harwich International Port today to mark the start of construction of the £10 million operations & maintenance (O&M) base for Galloper Offshore Wind Farm.

Galloper Offshore Wind Farm. Picture: Alan O'Neil

Galloper Offshore Wind Farm. Picture: Alan O'Neil - Credit: Archant

The work is planned to take around 12 months to complete and create 120 direct and indirect local jobs.

Tendring District Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment and Growth, Zoe Fairley, said that having firms such as Galloper Wind Farm Limited located in the area is “critical” if the district’s economy is to thrive.

“Its presence in Harwich demonstrates the opportunity Tendring has to establish Harwich as a centre of excellence in energy, logistics and marine engineering,” she said.

“It is so important to have facilities such as this new operations and maintenance base because they provide job opportunities for local people, not just at the base itself but in its construction, facility management, security and within a wide range of related supply chain businesses.

Top of a Galloper turbine. Picture: Alan O'Neil

Top of a Galloper turbine. Picture: Alan O'Neil - Credit: Archant

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“This new facility also goes beyond that. Offshore wind is an important part of our low carbon national infrastructure, and Galloper’s presence may be the catalyst for Harwich to become an important national centre for energy related activity – all of which fits well with our Tendring4Growth initiative.”

The Galloper O&M Base will comprise a 24/7 control room to monitor and manage all wind farm activity; a purpose built pontoon for the crew transfer vessels that take workers offshore daily; a fully-equipped gym; plus warehousing, office facilities and a new access road off the A120.

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It is expected that the innogy and Siemens Gamesa employees who make up the Galloper team will move in to the new base in early 2020.

Galloper General Manager Guy Middleton admits that it has been “quite a journey” for his team to get to the point where construction is underway.

Consent approval for the base – which will be home to the team of 60 who operate and maintain the 353 megawatt (MW) wind farm – was received from the Marine Management Organisation and Tendring District Council in September this year.

Three main contractors will build the facility, with two being local east coast companies.

Ipswich-based R G Carter Southern has been appointed to design and construct the building; and Ipswich-based Jackson Civil Engineering Group, will design and construct the access road. Farrans Construction, with offices throughout the UK, will design, fabricate and install the pontoon.

Galloper is already committed to the area as the team operating and maintaining the wind farm has been working out of temporary facilities in Harwich International Port since early 2017.

The amount of green power the wind farm’s 56 turbines is expected to generate on average each year is roughly equal to the annual electricity needs of more than 380,000 UK households.

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