Built eight miles off the Welsh coast, Gwynt y Môr is one of the largest offshore wind farms currently in construction in Europe.
Once the project is completed, 160 turbines will produce enough electricity to supply 400,000 homes.
The €2 billion investment is shared between partners Innogy, Stadtwerke München GmbH and Siemens, while being constructed by RWE npower renewable.
The wind farm is due for completion in 2014 with the project providing a huge range of exciting business opportunities for UK and European companies.
The partners involved are keen to place contracts in the UK where possible and such a large investment will provide a major boost for a huge range of businesses across the UK and Europe. A total of £200 million has been invested into the UK supply chain and as a result of the project, more than £70 million has already been awarded to Welsh companies.
The wind farm has been designed to have a 25-year working lifetime, during which it is thought that over 100 new jobs are likely to be created in support of the Operations and Maintenance of the wind farm.
In the delivery of Gwynt y Môr wind farm, the creation of and support for local jobs is deemed to be an important part of the project. A socio-economic study of the project found that a significant number of jobs could be created in Wales and a total of 1000 jobs could be created in the UK as a whole.
As part of their commitment to helping the UK businesses get the most out of opportunities with Gwynt y Môr, in January 2011 RWE Energy hosted a Supply Chain Information Event in partnership with the Welsh Government.
At the event businesses were given valuable information and advice from RWE npower renewable, Siemens and other contractors. This advice included details on how to best work with the renewable industry, and how to gear up to become more competitive in the future.
Business Minister Edwina Hart said:
“It is vitally important that large-scale energy projects such as Gwynt y Môr support the regional economy and create jobs locally.
“Businesses across Wales should maximise on the economic potential of power generation to create jobs, wealth and growth as the Welsh government works to develop a new low-carbon economy.”
Those companies already announced as being involved include Siemens Transmission and Distribution ltd, Siemens Offshore, National Grid, Prysmian Cables and Systems Ltd, Cammell Laird and Global Marine Systems.
Contracts are still to be awarded with companies all over the UK and announcements are likely to be made throughout 2012 detailing those businesses to be involved in the project.
There is also already a visible ripple effect in terms of job creation from Gwynt y Môr.
Turbine Transfers, a family-run business based in Holyhead, announced that it was creating 20 jobs after winning a multimillion-pound contract to provide six crew vessels to ferry workers to the wind farm site.
Turbine Transfers Limited was started in 2008 with two wind farm support vessels. Now it has 31, with more in 2013. The company has also commissioned new catamarans for the project.
As part of the deal, announced at Mostyn port in July, Turbine Transfers will also operate two further crew transfer vessels at another wind farm off the German coast.
There was also a three-month operation to lay undersea cables, bringing electricity ashore from the Gwynt y Môr wind farm.
The project also shows evidence of UK companies working together. In August, a 1,500-tonne platform, engineered by Siemens in Manchester and Harland and Wolff in Belfast, was transported from Belfast to the north coast of Wales.
Harland and Wolff sales manager David McVeigh said:
“It is great to see these major projects designed and built in the UK. These projects utilise a vast range of UK products, equipment, services and personnel.
“The substations are a shining example of British companies working together to achieve great things.”
The substation for the offshore wind farm was built near St Asaph, Denbighshire, to feed electricity into the national grid. The substation will be installed in Liverpool Bay and will power almost a third of homes in Wales.