Breath of fresh air for H&W with wind turbune venture
Harland & Wolff is bracing itself for a busy summer as it turns attention to the wind turbine market after its successful dismantling of the MSC Napoli.
Harland & Wolff Heavy Industries is now preparing its building dock to start work on the assembly of 60 offshore wind turbines destined for Robin Rigg, in the Solway Firth off south west Scotland.
This is the second offshore windfarm to be assembled by the Belfast company for Danish client Vestas.
Lawrence Cobain, H&W sales manager, said the combined power generated by the turbines will exceed 180mw, enough to power 120,000 homes or a city the size of Belfast.
He said: "These are very large scale turbines each capable of generating three megawatts. Each of the three blades on each rotor measures 44 metres and the stacks will reach more than 80 metres above sea level."
The shipyard, which famously built the Titanic, recently announced profits of £1.1m on a turnover of £26m last year. This signals a remarkable turnaround from earlier this decade when the yard's future was in doubt.
H&W said its success is down to a "consistent approach to diversification using ship-building skills in new sectors including ship-building, design engineering, ship repair and conversion, vessel recycling and recovery and renewable energy technologies".
Work was able to start on the wind turbines in the dry-dock after H&W completed its contract to dismantle the front section of the stricken MSC Napoli which was towed to Belfast in the midst of one of the biggest news stories of last year. The cargo ship, which had to be beached on the Devon coast, sparked incredible scenes of people rushing to the beach to take advantage of the unexpected bounty of the sea, in the shape of containers of motorcycles and other goods washed ashore.
H&W became one of the benefactors of its fate, keeping 80 people busy at the yard. Cutting up the superstructure created 60,000 tonnes of ship-building grade steel, with the exception of one piece auctioned off for the BBC's Children in Need charity.