Pembrokeshire has an exciting future.
Pembroke Dock Marine will build on our county’s existing energy experience to create new opportunities for local businesses and our communities.
It comes at a critical time; we must focus on increasing post-covid opportunities, and we must support the drive to generate clean, green energy. Our port facilities must change to unlock these opportunities. We are investing and adapting to meet the new demands and, most importantly, to ensure Pembrokeshire’s communities benefit.
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A global industry
Pembrokeshire has an opportunity to make a difference on a global scale. With Pembroke Dock Marine we’ll be providing services to the fast-growing marine energy industry, and across the maritime sector, as well as providing greater resilience for existing businesses at the same time as playing our part in addressing climate change. But, we must adapt our facilities to ensure we maximise the opportunity locally. Over the next few weeks we’ll look at what it means for Pembrokeshire’s communities.
What is Pembroke Dock Marine?
Pembroke Dock Marine is a collaboration between the Port of Milford Haven, ORE Catapult, Marine Energy Wales and Wave Hub Development Services Limited. It will build upon the region’s existing facilities and extensive skill base to establish a world-class base for marine energy and engineering. Based in Pembroke Dock, this £60m project is funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal, the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, and with private investment. It has the backing of Pembrokeshire County Council and both the Welsh and UK Governments and represents an incredible opportunity for Pembrokeshire communities.
When complete, the facilities, spaces and services will appeal to many businesses, including those already bedded in the region. There is an imminent, significant, and growing opportunity in marine energy and it’s already creating jobs and opportunities for local businesses. But we are up against fierce competition.
To secure this opportunity for Pembrokeshire we need to ensure our port can accommodate larger devices, and can support developers as they move from design, to build, deployment and long term operations and maintenance.
What is the Swansea Bay City Deal?
The Pembroke Dock Marine project is one of nine programmes and projects in the Swansea Bay City Region being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal – an investment of up to £1.3 billion to boost economic prosperity and job creation in South West Wales.
Chris Foxall, chair of the City Deal’s private sector Economic Strategy Board, said: “Pembroke Dock Marine is among a portfolio of exciting projects and programmes throughout the City Region that will make a difference to people’s lives by generating high-quality job opportunities and improving our economic prosperity, which will help attract even more investment in future.
“Pembroke Dock Marine also has the power to place Pembrokeshire and the City Region at the forefront of global marine energy innovation, not only helping tackle climate change and improving our environment for generations to come, but also helping to potentially create an export industry of global importance right here in South West Wales as the world moves towards a zero carbon economy.
“Projects of this nature will retain young talent in Pembrokeshire thanks to the availability of high-quality local work opportunities, while also helping accelerate our region’s economic recovery from Covid-19.”
Pembroke Port is located on the western end of Pembroke Dock. It’s a cargo port which also accommodates a busy ferry terminal and, collectively, supports 49 direct jobs. It also supports ferry employees and a whole range of local and national businesses.
With the £60m Pembroke Dock Marine investment, we will create a hub for marine energy development as well as being attractive to other maritime industries. It’s an incredible opportunity.
For the marine energy industry, the attraction is clear. Pembroke Port is an established industrial site with good access to deeper water, it’s close to world-class marine energy resources and is at the heart of Pembrokeshire’s energy-focused supply chain. For Pembrokeshire we’ll see more rewarding careers, business resilience and a host of other benefits. But to make that happen, we recognise that our facilities need to change.
Experts working in the sector have told us they need flat, open laydown spaces and better facilities for transferring large structures from land into the sea. They also need operational spaces, office facilities and better workboat berthing. We’ve identified that our Gate 4 site (at the most western end) is ideal. It’s an established industrial zone with the maximum potential to deliver what is needed. Subject to planning permission, the site will be adapted to deliver:
- Flat, open laydown and fabrication areas.
- A larger slipway to accommodate full scale devices (to reduce costs for deployment and manage risks for developers).
- New berthing for workboats (to facilitate long term operations and maintenance).
- Renovation of heritage buildings to create office spaces.
- A light assembly and maintenance building.
The plans include some large-scale fabrication sheds, though those will be developed at a later phase and based on commercial demand.
The site is currently a mixed zone with some private ownership, heritage features and established businesses so we’ve taken care to manage impacts. We’ve taken our time to consider options both in terms of different locations and different types of facilities. We’ve also listened to feedback during consultation stages and adapted our plans whenever possible.
Tackling the climate crisis
In relation to Pembroke Dock Marine, developments will be made at Gate 4 Pembroke Port. Our Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) was completed in early 2020.
It is essential that we all play our part in achieving a more sustainable future by addressing the global climate crisis. Pembrokeshire has existing energy infrastructure with a skilled supply chain and is also positioned close to renewable energy sources. It’s a powerful mix which positions the region to drive the change.
Jess Hooper, from Marine Energy Wales, is at the forefront of marine energy development. An important advocate for its need and for unlocking the opportunity to develop this industry in Wales, she explains: “Year on year we are seeing the potential for renewable energy growth. Increasingly, this focus is shifting to the marine environment and what can be realised from harnessing the power of the ocean in the form of wave, tide and floating wind.
The potential value and opportunities associated with the Port’s plans should not be underestimated. One only needs to look to the East Coast of England to see the economic, societal and financial benefits that offshore wind has brought to regions which were previously seeing diminishing economic and job prospects. The Port of Hull is a prime example, whereby its development attracted substantial inward investment driving further growth, jobs and prosperity for the region.
We have already seen the prospect of Pembroke Dock Marine act as an anchor project for regional and national activities:
- Milford Haven: Energy Kingdom looks at accelerating transition to integrated hydrogen and renewable energy,
- Selkie, an R&D project bringing together academia and the marine renewable sector working cross borders with Ireland; and,
- Erebus, the first Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) project in the Celtic Sea which is intended to act as a stepping stone for further deployments in the Celtic Sea - capitalising on, at least, a 15 Gigawatt opportunity.
The UK has identified 50 GW in [floating] offshore wind opportunity by 2050, 10 GW of which is off Pembrokeshire’s coast. The impact of this industry for the UK is huge. It’s been estimated that the initial 300 MW of power generated in the Celtic Sea will create 1,132 jobs in local regions, with long term potential for 17,000 jobs and £33.6 billion in gross value added to the UK economy.
Attention should also be drawn to the wave and tidal fabrication opportunities already being realised in Milford Haven Waterway. Pembroke Port has been home to the fabrication of six novel marine renewable devices to date. This is testament to the versatility of our local supply chain but also a live demonstration of the scale and scope that this sector represents to Pembrokeshire. However the increasing size of devices highlights an essential need to upgrade our port facilities.
The proposed infrastructure changes at Gate 4 will make Pembroke Port a keystone in the industry, enabling Pembrokeshire to secure some of this opportunity, safeguarding Milford Haven Waterway’s reputation for energy but widening the focus to include cleaner more sustainable energy sources.”
Creating local opportunities
The changes at Pembroke Port are designed to create opportunities in Pembrokeshire. We are already seeing long-established local businesses making the most of this once in a generation opportunity - and we are seeing new businesses arrive to make Pembrokeshire their home. It’s not just technology developers that will benefit. Pembrokeshire’s diverse, experienced businesses are a key attraction and they are set to benefit hugely too. Attracting a new industry to the area will ensure they’re here for the long term. These changes will do more than build a stronger local economy, they will also unlock rewarding careers across our community.
Opportunities for business
Pembroke Dock Marine is a major development. The opportunities aren’t just during the build phase of the development, the bigger story is the associated long-term growth of our marine and maritime industries. The supporting supply chain will be diverse and while the obvious focus is on engineering and fabrication operations, it’s much wider than that. From workboat operators to plant equipment suppliers and maintenance and supplies operations, as well as all those companies that support smooth business operations - from legal advice to safety supplies and from contract cleaners to caterers.
Pembrokeshire is an incredible place to live, work and play. But while it has strong seasonal recruitment, there are less options for rewarding life-long careers. For our existing workforce that’s quite limiting, but it also forces our young school leavers out of the county to spend their working lives elsewhere. That’s a vibrant section of our community missing with a corresponding impact on the economy.
Pembroke Dock Marine is creating the right conditions to stimulate business growth and inward investment. This is expected to generate over 1,800 jobs. The impact of jobs will be far reaching locally and won’t just benefit those with engineering skills. It’s a really exciting time.
Marine energy is already creating rewarding careers here in Pembrokeshire. It’s a chance to be part of an exciting, growing industry as well as playing a part in the protection of our environment.
Heritage and visual impact
In its heyday, the dockyard was a vibrant space employing over 4,000 people. It has always been an industrial zone and we have an opportunity to re-establish the contribution it makes to the community by establishing a new industry that will generate over 1,800 jobs. There will be significant, far reaching benefits felt long into the future. But like many major developments, there are impacts. And we’ve been working hard to minimise them.
The first phase of the Pembroke Dock Marine development at Pembroke Port is to create flat, open laydown areas and improved land to sea access to accommodate fabrication and deployment of large-scale marine energy devices and support vessels. It is possible that, longer term, we may be approached for permanent fabrication units.
This is not part of the Swansea Bay City Deal project, though we have included capacity for three possible buildings in the outline planning (subject to planning approval), two of which would be considered large-scale. This was to ensure we were open about possible longer-term development, and to enable us to react faster to future industrial demand in this competitive sector.
We used the ‘largest possible footprint’ model to keep the planning flexible. Therefore, the visuals (example shown below right) demonstrate the largest eventuality. If a request is made for a building of this nature, it would be subject to the usual planning process, which includes a period of consultation.
The dockyard has significant relevance in terms of the economic contribution it makes. It has always adapted: first to accommodate our naval warships and then the flying boats of World War II. The second half of the 20th century saw divided ownership with developments that included a heavy lift cargo area, fabrication spaces and a ferry terminal. These continue to make important contributions to the economy, creating much needed employment. Ahead of us is the next stage in its continued evolution.
We take our heritage responsibilities seriously and our aim in this development has been to minimise impact. Some features will be preserved in situ, while others will be enhanced. The slipways do require some alteration.
This is what's changing:
In good hands
We’ve renovated multiple heritage features in Milford Haven and Pembroke Port. It’s an important part of who we are. Not only does it ensure these heritage spaces can deliver what’s needed by our communities, but it also ensures they are preserved for future generations. We recognise it’s not always possible, but we will always try our best - and our past actions support this. There are some spectacular examples in Pembroke Dock of buildings that have seen heavy investment and are now home to thriving businesses. The former Oakum Store is now home to Mainstay Marine, the Guard House is home to Greenaway Scott, and the Eastern Sunderland Hangar is home to Busa Engineering - so their long-term future is assured.