Marine and Offshore Renewable Energy Accommodation Case Studies

With the UK striving to pave the way in marine and tidal energy, projects are arising along Britain’s expansive coastline. The Marine Energy Council estimated the UK industry to reach £76bn by 2050, and with 22,600 jobs being created by 2040, it raises a question to the industry: how will we house these workers?

 

Accommodation Challenges

Contractor accommodation is a specialist field that caters directly to the requirements of industry workers that the likes of Airbnb and Booking can’t match, but with marine, tidal, and offshore renewable energy competing directly with the leisure and tourist industries in seaside towns and cities, competition is fierce.

Offshore instrastructure and marine jobs often compete directly with leisure accommodation due to seasonal peaks.

Simply put, the majority of offshore works are carried out during spring, summer and early autumn. These timescales directly compete with leisure demand spiking over Easter, half terms and summer holidays. Throw in a few weeks in peak seasons that aren't planned ahead and rates could easily double per night. Worse still, months of continuous accommodation can be swapped with broken weeks and nights of moving around for large teams - poor for productivity and poor for profit.

 

Key Offshore Locations

The is leading the way globally with circa 20 operational offshore renewable wind farms and in terms of output, with only Germany coming close in sites. Hornsea leads the way in scale, followed by East Anglia One, Walney Extension, London Array, Beatrice Offshore Windfarm and Gwynt y Môr.

Pembrokeshire Case Study


The Welsh coastline is perfectly situated for off-shore renewable energy production, and many projects in marine and tidal energy have been undertaken. It is not only contributing to the economy by bringing skilled workers from throughout the UK, but it is forming the groundwork for a near future where the entire UK will be powered by clean renewable energy. 

Bombora is an example of a pioneering player in tidal energy, with its patented membrane-style wave energy converter, mWave, being deployed off the west coast of Wales. The project test will last between 6-12 months in East Pickard Bay before being removed, but although the location is perfect for tidal energy, the cost of accomodation isn’t as cost-effective as Bombora’s energy producing technology. The average daily rate in Pembrokeshire according to Airdna is £116, and as the average rental size is 2.5 rooms per property, £46.40 per person per night is steep.  

When pioneering expensive new technology, expenses need to be as streamlined as possible, which is where Comfy Workers comes in. Sourcing accommodation can be enough of a pain when planning a family holiday, but when arranging long-term accommodation for a team of contractors, it can become a nightmare. Our trained team specialise in sourcing contractor accommodation, and can provide more favourable options than the likes of Airbnb and Booking that can save tens of thousands of pounds over the course of a project. 

Using Bombora as an example, we reached out to hosts and found a three bedroom property less than 2 miles from the project site to provide a direct price comparison with the average price in Pembrokeshire.

 

  Average Comfy Workers
Total cost per night £116 £85
Cost per person per night £46.40 £28.33 
Total cost for 6 months £21,228 £15,555
Savings   £5673

 

Another Welsh development that is located close to the Bombora project was given the green light last year, and is expected to create more than 1800 jobs over the next 15 years. The Pembroke Dock Marine Swansea Bay City Deal is worth more than £73.5 million a year, and will undoubtedly bring with it a host of contractors to the area for its duration. Pembroke Dock has a population of 9665, and according to Airdna, there are less than 20 accommodation providers including Airbnb. Whilst there are certainly more properties within a reasonable commuting proximity, when it comes to booking long term contractor accommodation, the early bird gets the best pick of location, but also has more room for negotiating than if there were only a handful of properties available.

Hornsea Case Study


Hornsea Wind Farm is not just the largest offshore wind farm in the UK, but the world. Built in four stages, it is expected to bring clean renewable electricity to millions upon completion. The first of the projects built by Ørsted is up and running, with the second project expected to be operational by 2022, and the third and fourth projects estimated to be operational by 2025 and 2027, respectively. Image rights of Renewables Now.

These multi-billion pound projects that are shuttling workers to and from the wind farms via helicopter are in direct competition with visitors of leisure and tourism that flock to the long expansive stretch between Kilnsea and Flamborough. With numerous holiday cottages, lodges and parks dotting the area, the large swarms of workers that will be arriving to construct the wind farm are battling holiday makers who are looking for getaways on British shores. 

With cottages in Hornsea available for as little as £30 a night when booked in advance, and the vast majority of the population itching for a holiday once restrictions have lifted, availability is limited. As mentioned in a previous Comfy Workers report, it is important to book contractor accommodation early, especially so for those working in renewable fields of marine, wind and tidal energy that are located in popular holiday destinations. 

Unlike contractors, holiday makers book whenever they’re free, and that sporadic type of booking means that otherwise open availability becomes broken up. To avoid the hassle of having to move multiple times over the duration of a project, it’s essential to book early, and if it’s in large groups, booking whole properties typically allows for increased flexibility and adaptability to accommodate additional guests.