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Boosting UK energy security, supporting communities and creating good green jobs

13 Oct 2022

Last weekend a piece appeared in the FT’s weekend edition discussing how SSE projects are boosting energy security, creating jobs and supporting communities.

In the wild and windy North Sea, engineering and energy experts are deftly fixing the latest in renewable energy technology to an ancient sandbank over 30m below the surface. It is land on which early humans once foraged for survival.

Dogger Bank, which once joined the UK to mainland Europe, is now the site of what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm. When complete the 3.6GW wind farm will provide enough clean energy to power six million homes and play an important role as part of the solution to the current energy crisis.

This vast seabed is supporting much more than just wind turbines – it is making the UK more energy independent. And it is helping transform the North East of England into a clean energy powerhouse, delivering investment and growth.

SSE Renewables, part of SSE plc and the company behind it alongside partners Equinor and Eni Plenitude, believe Dogger Bank, has already created or supported 1,250 UK jobs through its construction and operation. Many of these roles are located in Yorkshire and associated with onshore construction works and around Port of Tyne from where the wind farm will be operated.

The foundations were designed by UK designers, whilst steel for the project has been manufactured by Tata Steel in Wales and processed in Corby and Hartlepool.

The project is just one in the in the pipeline of UK-listed SSE, which is building more offshore wind than any other company in the world.

Up the east coast Seagreen, the world’s deepest fixed bottom offshore wind farm, has just delivered first power from even deeper waters – bolstering the UK’s energy defences even further.

"We know the UK has an abundance of renewable energy on its doorstep but now we’re really getting on and delivering the infrastructure to harness it, and SSE Renewables really is at the forefront of these developments."

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Renewables

Stephen continued:

“Our engineers are using their world-leading skills, invaluable infrastructure experience and technological know-how to deliver our flagship offshore wind energy projects at Dogger Bank and Seagreen, and we’ll soon see the impact as these world-class renewable assets come on the system. But it isn’t just in energy. The projects we’re building up and down the coast are supporting communities and long-term sustainable careers."

SSE has plans that could see it invest up to £24bn this decade in low-carbon and renewable energy infrastructure. The company estimates its projects will deliver 1,000 direct jobs a year to 2025 across the UK and through its supply chain, and it is already supporting more than 40,000 roles across the country.

The 1.1GW Seagreen, which is being developed by SSE Renewables with TotalEnergies, will eventually be able to power up to 1.6m homes.

John Hill, Project Director of Seagreen, said:

“When the first turbine started delivering power to the UK energy system it was an incredible moment for all our team. I have immense pride in everyone who played a role in getting to that point and of the role of Seagreen – to power millions of homes and businesses as well as supporting jobs and the community.”

SSE Renewables is also currently developing the gargantuan 4.1GW Berwick Bank offshore wind farm, again in the North Sea. Recent analysis showed that at peak construction in 2026 the project could create 9,300 jobs in the UK – and add an estimated £8.3 billion to the UK economy as a whole over the life-time of the project.

And the company also has plans to venture further with a giant floating offshore wind development in the far North Sea.

SSE is also developing hydrogen and carbon capture storage projects in the heart of the Humber industrial cluster in North Lincolnshire and in Peterhead in north Scotland and billions of pounds in supporting transmission and networks infrastructure.

"Our developments are already creating opportunity and we have many more shovel-ready projects that could see us invest billions this decade in communities across the UK, creating thousands of good jobs."

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive

Alistair continued:

“This country has enormous potential to become energy independent by fully developing our world-class renewable resources, upgrading our electricity infrastructure, and creating innovative new technologies that will boost UK energy security and help ensure we are never so exposed to volatile gas markets again.

“With a supportive policy environment we can reduce bills, improve energy security and deliver a cleaner greener future.”