Mammoth Teesside offshore wind turbine base factory secures planning approval

Construction of a giant offshore wind turbine base factory in Teesside is set to start next month, after the pioneering project secured planning approval this week.

South Korean steel manufacturer SeAH Wind announced this morning that its plans for a 1.13 million square foot factory in Teesside’s freeport zone have been given the green light by authorities.

The proposed plant, billed as the largest of its kind in the world, is to produce “extra-large” monopiles that are crucial to erecting large offshore wind turbines in the North Sea.

The £300m factory is aiming to produce between 100 and 150 monopiles annually, which will be transported directly from the factory to the nearby South Bank Quay facility, before being transported out to sea.

SeAH Wind expects the plant to create 1,500 supply chain and construction jobs when work starts in July, and a further 750 roles when the site comes online in 2024.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen heralded the “game-changing scheme” as a major economic boon for the North East region. “SeAH Wind has engaged with almost 200 local supply chain companies, detailing how they can get on board using our expertise and know-how to make its facility a reality,” he said. “This will make sure it benefits our region in the short-term, while creating the well-paid, good-quality jobs of the future.”

At 40 meters tall and 800 meters in length, the giant facility presents a range of design and construction challenges, according to project manager K2 Consultancy said.

Building service engineers Waterman Group said its design was focused on ensuring the plant was as energy efficient as possible, with a high level “environmental controllability” that could enable low energy consumption, maximise the lifespan of materials, and deliver an “optimum” working environment for occupations.

“We are delighted to see this exciting scheme now submitted for planning approval,” said Waterman’s managing director for building services Jonathan Purcell. “SeAH Wind’s sustainable manufacturing facility will help secure the north-east’s position as an alternative energy powerhouse, whilst providing an employment boost to the local region.”

Houchen said the planning approval meant there was now nothing standing in the way of the project’s construction. “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,” he said. “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.”

The approval comes just days after plans for to build a major offshore wind cabling factory in Northumberland were also approved by authorities.

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