Oct 6 2011 By Francesca Elliott, Flintshire Chronicle
Jim O'Toole, left, and Toby Edmonds
A FLINTSHIRE dock has been chosen as the maintenance base for a two-billion-euro wind farm project, creating 100 skilled jobs.
The Port of Mostyn has struck a deal with RWE npower renewables which will see £50m in investment at the site near Holywell over the next 25 years and 100 skilled engineering jobs created.
The port will support the construction and maintenance of the Gwynt y Môr wind farm, one of the largest in Europe, which is being built 10 miles off the North Wales Coast near Colwyn Bay and Llandudno.
The new farm is expected to be fully operational by 2014 and will create enough electricity to power 400,000 homes – a third of Wales.
The Port will benefit from vital infrastructure development and the creation of a major new operations and maintenance base, where the new long term engineering jobs will be created.
Jim O’Toole, managing director of the Port of Mostyn, said: "We are absolutely delighted. This is very significant for us and for north east Wales. The 25-year maintenance contract will consolidate jobs which have been created here over the last eight years and will create 100 new jobs which we hope to recruit from the local area.
"It’s a nice shot in the arm for north east Wales and it’s especially welcome at this economic time."
The company will also build a pontoon and a purpose-built operations and maintenance base and Mostyn will become the base for all its windfarms at Liverpool Bay, North Hoyle, Rhyl Flats and Gwynt y Môr.
Mr O’Toole added: "In 2016 a project called Zone Nine will be built and it’s eight times larger than Gwynt y Môr. We will be making a bid for that. That’s where our sights are set for the future. We have to compete for the business.
"That size of scheme would require more than one port, but we have plans at the project stage at the moment."
The deal is the company’s highest value, long-term contract awarded to a company in Wales.
Work began on the project in 2009 and once fully operational in 2014, the energy generated from Gwynt y Môr could power 400,000 homes.
RWE npower renewables’ Gwynt y Môr project director Toby Edmonds said: "We are very pleased to have been able to secure the Port of Mostyn as our home for the next 25 years.
"The port has already proved itself extremely capable as the base for construction and operation of North Hoyle and Rhyl Flats and this agreement builds on this."
Managing Director of the Port of Mostyn, Jim O’Toole, said: "We see the Gwynt y Môr project as a strengthening of the relationship which we established with RWE npower renewables during the North Hoyle and Rhyl Flats projects, and that will significantly increase business and employment opportunities not just for the Port of Mostyn but also for the wider North Wales region."
The Port of Mostyn lease and investment will increase the value of Gwynt y Môr-related contracts awarded to North Wales companies to over £70m.
The port will be the central base for all three of RWE npower renewables' wind farms in Liverpool Bay, North Hoyle, Rhyl Flats and Gwynt y Môr, once constructed.
To date Mostyn has been involved in the construction of seven offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea, with Gwynt-y-Mor being the most significant. The port is also used by Airbus UK. for the export to France of the wings for their A380 aircraft.
UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: "I was pleased to hear that RWE npower renewables has chosen Port of Mostyn to support construction and to be established as the long term operations and maintenance base for Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm.
"The creation of over 100 skilled engineering jobs is a welcome development for the sector and demonstrates that it is not only the largest ports and coastal communities that can benefit from jobs and economic activity resulting from the offshore wind industry."