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Korean Steelmaker Builds Giant Offshore Wind Base Factory in UK

teesside
Rendering courtesy SeAH Wind

Published Jun 25, 2022 12:51 AM by The Maritime Executive

South Korean company SeAH Wind is set to invest $367 million to build the world’s largest offshore wind turbine base factory in Teesside Freeport in the United Kingdom, reflecting the UK's ambitious plans for renewable power.

The company is a subsidiary of South Korean steel manufacturing giant SeAH Steel Holdings. It has received the plans approval for the factory, which is designed to accommodate the production of new extra-large monopiles and will become SeAH Wind’s first plant of this kind outside South Korea.

The facility will produce monopiles of up to 120 meters in length, 15.5 meters in diameter and weighing 3,000 tonnes. Through the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the UK government is bankrolling the project with a $143 million grant. 

When fully operational in 2024, the factory is expected to produce between 100 and 150 monopiles per year, which will be transported directly from the factory to Teesworks’ new South Bank Quay facility before heading to the North Sea for installation.

South Bank Quay is part of the Teesworks Freeport project that aims to be the UK’s premier offshore wind hub. Apart from SeAH Wind, the project has also attracted global companies like GE Renewable Energy, which plans to invest $131 million in a wind turbine blade manufacturing factory.

The quay is expected to play a critical role the development of numerous wind farms in the UK. SeAH Wind is already securing supply contracts with developer Orsted for the 2.4 GW Hornsea 3 offshore wind farm located in the North Sea, which will have 231 offshore wind turbines.

According to Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, the SeAH Wind factory will create 1,500 supply chain and construction jobs when work begins in July, along with a further 750 jobs when the site is fully operational.

The UK ranks among the top leaders in offshore wind with a total of 83.6 GW in the pipeline, including 10.5 GW in operation and 63.3 GW under development.