A major Ministry of Defence Ammunitioning facility in Portsmouth required a prime and standby power solution to ensure that it remained fully operational, regardless of mains power supply provisions. Shenton Group provided a range of generator assets allied to wind turbines and battery storage, resulting in a critical defence unit able to operate 24/7, independently from main power supplies.


The Ministry of Defence works tirelessly around the clock to maintain a large peace-time military. It’s Portsmouth-based Upper Harbour Ammunitioning Facility (UHAF) is a modern, state-of-the-art facility comprising a 15×85 metre jetty which houses two hydraulic cranes and two mooring pontoons.

The facility provides off-shore docking and loading for ships weighing up to 10,000 tonnes, including the Royal Navy’s new Type 45 frigate. Therefore, an extremely robust prime and standby power solution needed to be specified, installed and then maintained in-line with strict Ministry of Defence protocol and security clearance.


The project’s main contractor, Volker Stevin Marine, spent some 10 months building the aforementioned jetty and engaged Shenton Group which won the contract following 16 months of intense engagement in the design process.

Shenton Group Director, Darren Meek, highlighted the challenges that working for the Ministry of Defence and on such a unique project brings: “There is a strict protocol to adhere to when working in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, which includes conforming to confidentiality and security criteria”. Detailing the Portsmouth project, Darren continued: “The unique nature of this project, being an Ammunitioning Facility, meant that is was not a straightforward project. Shenton Group had to fully understand the power requirements, which encompassed two large hydraulic cranes, and the solution we arrived at fully exploited the coastline location, integrating renewable wind power with a range of generator assets”.

Shenton Group designed, manufactured, installed and then commissioned a comprehensive, stand-alone power supply building, housing standby generators. The solution also features wind turbines and 12-tonnes of battery storage. In addition to providing prime and standby power to the UHAF jetty, a key feature of the project was to build-in redundant systems and robust control strategies to eliminate any single point of failure which could ultimately prevent the loading of the warships.

Shenton Group has also been awarded a contract for the maintenance and remote monitoring of the continuous power solution through BAE Systems, the facilities provider for the Royal Navy dockyard. This is a bespoke contract crafted specifically to suit the unique needs of the Royal Navy at this facility. The objective is to eliminate any issues that could prevent the re-supply of critical ammunition onto a warship and includes sophisticated remote monitoring & testing provisions.


The new £18m development has now been fully handed-over to the Ministry of Defence. The Portsmouth UHAF facility now utilises a combined wind and traditional generator solution which guarantees robust, continuous power supplies, regardless of National Grid reserve power supplies, brown-outs, or black-outs. The Royal Navy is now able to ensure that an array of it’s fleet can load with ammunition 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Additional assurance comes in the form of Shenton Group’s ongoing maintenance and remote monitoring contract which identifies any potential problems. A reactive, highly experienced Shenton Group team is now at hand to provide ongoing maintenance and on call to rapidly respond to an issues.

Stephen Mole, Volker Stevin Marine’s Procurement Manager said: “Shenton Group displayed great attention to detail and provided us with confidence in the technical viability of their proposal and the company’s ability to deliver. That confidence was not misplaced”.

About Shenton Group

Shenton Group is the UK’s leading technical expert in standby power, uninterruptible power supplies, and combined heat and power supplies. The company provides power solutions to organisations spanning a broad array of industries that rely on continuous power supplies and includes; finance, telecoms, IT, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, education, government, utilities, sport and leisure, and of course, military.

Shenton Group’s Power Care continuous power supply maintenance contracts guarantee peak generator and Uninterruptible Power Supply performance. With strategically placed depots throughout the United Kingdom, Shenton Group’s network of technical engineers and support staff respond to clients usually within 4 hours, delivering some of the highest standards of uninterruptible power supplies and power generator servicing.

About Volker Stevin Marine

Volker Stevin Marine is widely acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading maritime civil engineering contractors. The company provides the expertise, skills and resources for all types of marine work, including: jetties, port and harbour infrastructure, marinas, coast protection, flood defence, marine piling, quay walls, linkspans and submerged tube tunnels.

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