How long does it take to construct a new port suitable for offshore wind construction?

I'm thinking about the whole period: the design and planning, construction, and commissioning?

I'd value real-world examples, to back up any numbers.

Here's the proposed new Able Humber port, an example of a not-yet-built offshore wind port, which has just received planning approval:

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  • 1
    I suspect the main variable is approval time. The gas hub at James Price Point in Western Australia is ten years in to an approval process that seems likely to be abandoned. But in China, say, I suspect the whole thing could be done in a couple of years.
    – Móż
    Dec 28, 2013 at 22:00
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    I suspect the reality is that nobody has yet built a single-purpose port of this scale from scratch, and so all that we have to go on is the claims and plans of sites such as the one you link.
    – Flyto
    Jan 9, 2014 at 10:29
  • @EnergyNumbers Why this question? And why for a new port specifically? As Flyto also suggests, I suspect that in most countries the facilities of existing ports are used to build an offshore windfarm.
    – THelper
    Jan 9, 2014 at 11:10
  • @THelper good question: I'm looking at how quickly the entire supply chain could expand, in one country, and globally. Port capacity seems to be the part of the supply chain with the slowest response time.
    – 410 gone
    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:43
  • @Flyto - since there's apparently nothing unusual about this type of port, any large construction firm in the area will be able to make a good estimation of how long it will take -- otherwise, they'd never be able to put together a bid for the construction.
    – Johnny
    Jan 9, 2014 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


I don't think that ports are a limiting factor here. Unless you are planning on making millions of turbines all made from one port near a manufacturing facility.

Let's suppose that you are building 100 meter turbines. That is 100 meter diameter air flow, on a 100 meter tower, plus foundation. You've got a large tube 100+ meters long, and 3 blades 50 meters long. This is a large but common size ocean barge. Indeed, it would likely carry several.

Let's suppose that you do the final assembly in a factory with a straight line to a single dock. Now your loading facility is much like any facility for handling large components. (How do companies load pre-formed refinery towers.) While it would not be as quick as loading containers, I bet with practice you would be able to load one component every 30 minutes. 4 major components = 2 hours per turbine. This would mean that one dock can handle 12 turbines per day, or about 4000 per year.

Overall, your bigger problem is going to be getting them TO the dock, which is why a purpose build dock next to the factory makes sense. The dock facility can be build in tandem with the factory. Typical factory construction times are 1-3 years, depending on whether it's standard off the shelf tools, or high tech engineering.

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