Mast failure won't jeopardise new jobs
THE structural failure of a meteorological mast on E.on's Humber Gateway wind farm should not delay a project that is bringing at least 50 direct jobs to Grimsby, according to the energy giant.
The huge data recording tower, understood to be at least 70m high, is now bent over double, just a few miles off Spurn Point. A 500m safety exclusion zone for mariners was immediately established around the site by statutory harbour authority Associated British Ports, which remains in force.
And with recent bad weather, further investigation of the met mast, as it is known, which looks similar to a large radio transmission tower, has not been possible.
Speculation about the reasons for the failure of the lattice construction, understood to have occurred early last month, range from a weakening of the framework structure or fastenings within it, from the combination of tidal and wind buffeting, to human error or even sabotage. The latter has been mooted but dismissed by many.
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A spokesperson for the utility giant said: "It is due to a structural failure and we're still working to establish the root cause. We're currently assessing the situation and the met mast remains secure and the navigational aids continue to be operational. Unfortunately recent weather conditions have not permitted us to undertake further work and we're not able to give a time period of when the met mast will be repaired or replaced.
"When the weather gets better we will be able to assess the situation a little bit better."
Asked about the impact on recorded data, or a timeframe for the 219MW project to be operational, the spokesperson said: "With regard to this causing any delay, we currently still expect the project to be complete in Spring 2015."
Featuring 73 turbines within a 25 sq m area, 8km off the East Yorkshire coast, it is another Round Two project creating more work in the offshore operations and maintenance sphere for Grimsby.
With large numbers involved in the build out, anticipated to start next year, long term will see 50 direct jobs, as well as the creation and security of more in the wider supply and logistics chain. E.on's employees will include 15 land-based staff and 35 offshore maintenance workers.
An operations and maintenance base has been granted planning permission by North East Lincolnshire Council, for the North Quay of Port of Grimsby East, part of an enterprise zone established by the local authority.
Power generated by Humber Gateway – enough to satisfy the demands of up to 170,000 homes – will be connected to the National Grid at Salt End, east of Hull, with cables coming ashore at Easington, where the existing gas pipe infrastructure forms the northern boundary of the farm.