The development of one of the UK’s leading deep-water offshore energy bases has reached a major new milestone.

Work has begun on the building of a temporary works cofferdam at Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 in Blyth, in Northumberland, North East England – which will enable the construction of a new dock.

Northumberland Energy Park is part of Energy Central, the UK’s unique port-based service, investment and growth cluster for companies operating in the offshore energy and subsea markets. Energy Central is a partnership between Advance Northumberland, Port of Blyth, Northumberland County Council and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. It offers nearly 200 HA of strategic, quay linked development sites.

The new dock, which is being funded by a £32 million public sector investment is an extension of the current dock facilities – and work is set to be completed on the project by May 2021.

The dock will allow companies locating to Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 to benefit from direct quay access to a 50m x 210m deep water berth on the River Blyth. Dredging work will increase its current depth of 5.0 LAT to 9.0 LAT, and the dock will have jack up barge vessel capability.

Nearby Battleship Wharf, which is also part of the Energy Central cluster, offers an additional four deep water berths, and there are additional marine facilities at The Port of Blyth, which has access to open sea within 0.5 NM.

Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 is situated on the site once occupied by the Blyth Power Station facility. Further development is planned for the 35 HA Northumberland Energy Park Phase 2 and the 95 HA Northumberland Energy Park Phase 3.

The site is strategically located for market access to offshore energy developments in the North Sea, including Round 3 Zone offshore wind projects at Dogger Bank, Hornsea and the Firth of Forth.

Richard Wearmouth, Chair of Advance Northumberland said, “The commencement of work on the cofferdam is a huge step forward in the development of Northumberland Energy Park – and the new dock will further enhance the vast array of facilities available at Energy Central for businesses servicing the offshore wind sector.

“With Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1, we are building on Blyth’s heritage in power generation, transforming a site previously associated with the fossil fuel industry and turning it into a major asset for the renewable energy sector, while supporting the UK’s shift to clean growth.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, (North East LEP), said, “Offshore wind is highlighted in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan as being an area of opportunity for growth, with the potential to create more and better jobs in the region.

“Northumberland Energy Park will play a key role in exploiting this opportunity which is why we have invested more than £19 million into the Phase 1 site remediation and infrastructure, which includes £4.4 million of Local Growth Fund funding. The new dock will further enhance the site which already benefits from Enterprise Zone status, making it a very attractive offer for investors.”

Energy Central is located on the East Coast of the UK, midway between Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth. North East England is a lead UK region for offshore energy and is recognised by the UK Government as having Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (CORE) status. It has a well-developed engineering supply chain and a highly skilled workforce with strong expertise in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

The Advance Northumberland team are exhibiting with Port of Blyth as Energy Central at Global Offshore Wind V-Fest from July 22 to 24 and can provide further information on Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1.

By Jake Frith