Giant wind turbine assembly starts
Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard has started work on assembling 30 massive wind turbines that will operate off the English coast.
Each turbine will rise 160 metres above the Irish Sea and carry a blade with a 126 metre diameter, which will rotate in an area the size of a football pitch.
European energy company Vattenfall said it had delivered the first of nine consignments of turbines and towers for the wind farm to be based 10 kilometres off Barrow-in-Furness.
Vattenfall's David Hodkinson said: "We are delighted that Vattenfall's Ormonde offshore wind project is supporting employment at Harland and Wolff's facility in Belfast and we are looking forward to working with them to deliver this part of the project safely and cost effectively.
"The delivery of the towers and turbines is not only an important development for our project, but also underlines Vattenfall's commitment to work with suppliers to strengthen the UK supply chain for the offshore wind sector, which will underpin the delivery of the planned large scale expansion of offshore wind around the UK coast."
He said the construction programme was on schedule, with the first power to be generated in the early summer.
Harland and Wolff's chief executive Robert Cooper welcomed the beginning of the project.
"This is our third offshore wind farm logistics project in four years and the largest turbines we have handled to date," he said.
"Vattenfall is a demanding customer which requires the best. Our vast facilities and experienced personnel are again demonstrating their unique flexibility and capability.
"When this project is considered alongside the current manufacture of two large offshore platforms in our fabrication halls, renewable energy is securing hundreds of local jobs within H&W and within the local supply chain."