Aberdeen company North Star Renewables has been awarded contracts worth an estimated £270 million to deliver three state-of-the-art service operation vessels (SOVs) to be used on what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea.
North Star’s contract award follows a competitive tender process. The Scottish firm beat off international competition to secure the deal to design and deliver the three-vessel service operation fleet for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which is currently being built in the North Sea by joint venture partners SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni.
North Star will deliver the SOVs to Dogger Bank Wind Farm operator Equinor from Summer 2023 and will be chartered to Dogger Bank by North Star for a ten-year period, with an option for three one-year extensions.
North Star will create 130 new full-time UK-based jobs in crewing and shore-based roles for the lifetime of the contract. Recruitment for the roles 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 and 350 of which are in Scotland.
The contract award is a renewables-first for North Star and represents a transformational step forward for the Scottish company in its energy transition ambitions to become a major player in the global offshore wind sector.
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. A joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni, Scotland-headquartered 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.
Halfdan Brustad, Vice President for Dogger Bank at Equinor said: “The high-end SOVs will ensure our teams have a comfortable stay offshore, which is important before a day’s work on the turbines. We have incorporated leading technology to ensure we can operate the wind farm safely, sustainably and efficiently.”
Steve Wilson, SSE Renewables Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, Project Director said: “The jobs that these contracts bring to Scotland, the North East and the UK are a welcome boost and all part of the role Dogger Bank is playing in the UK’s green recovery.
“It’s an important milestone for the project and when delivered, these state-of-the-art hybrid vessels will have a critical future role in ensuring the safe and efficient maintenance of the development when it reaches the operational phase.”
Wind farm engineers and technicians will spend two weeks on board each of the high-tech vessels while working on the offshore wind farm.
The SOVs will incorporate logistics platforms to allow wind farm personnel work on the wind farm during the day, ensuring optimum wind turbine availability, and will feature safe, hotel-grade comfort in the living quarters for operational personnel at all other times.
North Star’s designs, which have been two-years in the making with its key strategic technology partners, are at the leading-edge of operability and sustainability to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Innovations include low fuel consumption, digital decision support technology, advanced propulsion systems, hybrid power management, a waste heat recovery system, and a new daughter-craft design.