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Construction Begins On World Largest Offshore Wind Farm

Posted: 27/01/2020

Categories: Emergency Response & Preparedness

UK energy company SSE Renewables, in partnership with Norwegian energy supplier Equinor, has announced that onshore construction of Dogger Bank Wind Farms has begun. It is set to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with three sites capable of generating 3.6GW, according to The Engineer.

The wind farm will cover an area of 8,660 square kilometres, approximately 125km to 290km off the coast of Yorkshire, in the southern North Sea. Two of the sites, Creyke Beck A and B, located 131km from shore, will cover 515 square kilometres and 599 square kilometres respectively, while the third, Teesside A lies 196km from the coast covering an area of 560 square kilometres.

North Wales firm, Jones Bros Civil Engineering has started onshore work near the village of Ulrome in the East Riding of Yorkshire, for the installation of onshore cable infrastructure. They are tasked with installing nearly 32km of electrical cables, as well as the construction of the onshore high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations.

The 32km of cable will be installed in ducts, which in place will be installed in trenches, and where required via drilling under existing infrastructure and natural obstacles. The cable route will link the existing National Grid substation at Creyke Beck, Cottingham. The subsea export cable from the Teesside A will take a different route to connect with another onshore convertor station at Teesside, before connecting with the Lackenby national grid substation at Teesside.

The completed onshore cable will transport the power generated by the two offshore wind farm sites, Creyke Beck A and Creyke Beck B from the landfall point at Ulrome to the new convertor stations, one per project, in the south of Beverley.

Work will also include vegetation clearance, preparing access junctions and construction of temporary access roads to facilitate the main works, as well as installation of drainage systems for pre- and post-construction land drainage. Off-shore construction of the wind farms is expected to commence in 2021. The project is expected to take roughly two years to complete, and operational power from Dogger Bank is expected in 2023.

The three offshore wind farm sites, Creyke Beck A (1.2GW), Creyke Beck B (1.2GW) and Teesside A (1.2GW) in the North Sea, that have a combined capacity of 3.6GW. According to The Engineer, the first part of the project to break ground is the coastal preparation for Creyke Beck A and B.

Dogger Bank Wind Farms Managing Director Steve Wilson commented: “Getting the first spade in the ground is a significant milestone on any project, but for what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, this is a major moment for a project that has already been over a decade in the making.”

Dogger Bank is an essential role in the UK’s efforts to reach net-zero through the use of low carbon fuel sources. The wind farms will be equipped with GE’s Haliade-X wind turbine, the most powerful turbines in the world, and will generate clean energy that will be sufficient to power more than 4.5 million homes annually.

GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X turbines were tested in the Port of Rotterdam in the summer of 2019. Its 260 meters (853 feet) tall and its blades are 107 meters long (351 feet). Once they are operational in the North Sea’s winds, each Haliade-X will be able to produce 12 megawatts of power.

John Lavelle, President and Chief Executive of Offshore Wind at GE Renewable Energy, commented: “Our Haliade-X technology is helping our customers to make offshore wind a more competitive source of clean and renewable energy by reducing the levelised cost of energy (LCOE).”

The UK has long played host to some of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy projects, as each new off-shore wind farm betters the last over the years, each laying claim to being the world’s largest, a title that will soon belong to Dogger Bank.

As a sign of how quickly things are moving when it comes to wind power in the UK, consider that the 500-MW Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, with its 140 turbines, was the world's largest when it entered operation in 2008.

The London Array with its 175 turbines and 630 MW capacity usurped it in 2013, before an extension of the Walney

offshore wind farm outstripped it in 2018, with a set of 189 turbines and capacity of 659 MW.

Paul Cooley, Director of Capital Projects at SSE Renewables, commented: “The joint Equinor and SSE Renewables project team on Dogger Bank is excited to work with GE Renewable Energy to introduce the next generation of offshore wind turbine to the UK and to be the first European wind farm to install and operate these innovative turbines.” according to Energy Voice.

Dogger Bank will now be home to the largest offshore wind turbines in the world and to this pioneering low carbon technology, which will play a central role in helping the UK become carbon neutral by 2050.”

Teesside Live has reported talks to bring a heliport to Teesside, to enable maintenance for the hundreds of new wind turbines. Equinor and SSE are still considering where to put the operations and maintenance base for the world’s largest wind project.

Talks are in the offing between the mayor and the firms in the coming weeks to try and convince the company that Teesside is the ideal spot. Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, told Teesside Live, “Teesside is still the preferred solution for maintenance and operations for Dogger Bank wind farm - we’re having some really strong and positive conversations.”

Offshore wind has taken off over the past few years, and will continue to grow as the technology it requires becomes steadily better, cheaper, and more efficient. The new turbines being built now already generate three times as much energy as turbines from just five years ago, and means the expense of building wind farms are much more cost-beneficial.

Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farms were developed over five years by Forewind, with Development Consent Orders (DCOs) being granted for these nationally significant infrastructure projects in 2015. If you’re looking to undertaking the GWO Advanced Rescue (ART) training and emergency response training courses, then get in touch today.