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Green light for offshore wind megafactory in Teesside

by Sion Geschwindt
Green light for monopile megafactory in Teesside

South Korean steel manufacturer, SeAH Wind, has secured planning permission for its £300m offshore turbine base factory at the Teesside Freeport.

The 40m-tall, 800m-long factory will produce monopiles, which are used to anchor offshore wind turbines to the sea floor.

When fully operational, the factory is expected to produce between 100 and 150 monopiles per year, each measuring up to 120m in length, 15.5m in diameter, and weighing 3,000 tonnes.

Site works are scheduled to start in July with overall completion anticipated in 2024.

‘Game-changing scheme’

Building the facility – said to be the largest of its kind in the world – presents a range of design and construction challenges, according to the project team, including its scale, low energy design, and an accelerated build programme.

The scheme will see the creation of 1,500 supply chain and construction jobs when work begins in July, along with a further 750 roles when the site is fully operational.

The scheme includes a 93,324 sq.metre main monopile manufacturing building, a 3,873 sq.metre administration office, maintenance station, paint facility, and site-specific power stations.

K2 is project manager, construction manager, and cost consultant on the project and the procurement of specialist trade contractors is at an early stage. Wilson James is appointed for logistics and the appointment of a piling contractor is close to finalised.

K2 has engaged a multi-disciplinary team including Ashton Smith Associates acting as architects, together with Clarkebond as civil, structural and geo-environmental engineer, and building services engineer Waterman Group.

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Nick Coke, director of project management at K2, said: “This is a tremendously exciting project for us building on our strong experience in the industrial manufacturing sector. 

“It gives us the opportunity to deliver a market-leading, world-class, and pioneering facility that will kick-start much needed regeneration on Teesside. 

“This brings some fresh challenges as the project requires us to deliver for a Korean client new to the UK. In order to fast-track the project and to allow SeAH to speed their product to market, we are leveraging our expertise in construction management, allowing work to start on site at the earliest opportunity.”

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley mayor, said: “This is a fantastic step forward for SeAH Wind’s game-changing scheme. The first job has been advertised, the plans have been approved and now spades can get in the ground in just a matter of weeks.

“2022 is our year of construction there’s nothing holding back plans for this mammoth facility, helping drive forward the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future.”

Image: An artist’s impression of SeAH Wind’s monopile factory at Teesside (credit: Ashton Smith Associates)

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