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All quiet now on the eastern front as state-of-the-art SOV sails in to Race Bank

The past five days has served as a perfect example of the need for a strong energy mix and the importance of emerging large-scale electricity storage developments, as wind and wider renewables play an increasing role in the UK power supply.  

All quiet now on the eastern front as state-of-the-art SOV sails in to Race Bank

Having broken new records for electricity generation at Port of Grimsby as the Beast from the East and Storm Emma collided to whip up 70mph gusts off the coasts of Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire last week, today was a complete opposite. 

From a dizzy height of well over 1GW of generation on Friday, and peaking at 1.2GW from the six operational farms controlled out of Grimsby, today the conditions meant the 328 turbines weren’t mustering a quarter of that, with 230MW being sent onshore at 11.30am.

The newest addition, Race Bank, had been hitting 97 per cent of the 574MW capacity, a staggering 561MW, on its own as the working week came to a close on Friday evening.

While still supplying more than the other five combined this morning, at 129.5MW, it did however mean conditions were pleasant for the first visit from Edda Passat, the state-of-the-art service operation vessel that has been handed over to its crew by the Spanish shipyard.

Having sailed through sea trails, she was brought north as conditions settled over the weekend, leaving Gijon, northern Spain, and heading directly for the wind farm she will now serve.  

Edda Passat is the first of two purpose-built next generation multi-million pound investments that will be based at Orsted’s East Coast Hub in Grimsby, with the capability to keep 40 technicians out in the field for up to 28 days. 

At 81m long and 17m wide, with a crew of 20, she was designed by Rolls Royce Marine and built by Astilleros Gondan at Puerto de Figueras, northern Spain, for Norwegian operator Østensjø Rederi.

Edda Mistral will follow later this summer to serve Hornsea Project One. She is currently being fitted out top-side having been launched on a weekend when both were named last month.

Unlike the near shore wind farms served by vessels sailing daily from Port of Grimsby East, these will stay out in the field for a set period, and rather than butting up to the tower for technicians to transfer from craft to turbine – a heart-stopping moment for the most competent mariners – a motion compensated gangway system provides walk-to-work capability for the crew. An 11m work boat is also carried on board.

This vessel, Passat Worker, was dispatched to port, arriving under Grimsby's Dock Tower at 1pm, heading back out to the mothership at 3pm. Edda Passat is anticipated in Royal Dock later this week.

The vessels are looking at a potential 10-year initial charter, contracted for a five year fixed-term period, with five further one year options. 

Elsewhere in the Humber and after pilotage was suspended in the stormy conditions for a time, leading to ships staying in port or in the approaches – causing some disruption – vessel movements have been returning to normal.

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