Dogger Bank to feature unmanned offshore substations

In: Windfarms

Developers of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm have announced plans to install and operate unmanned High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) offshore substations at the project site.

The Dogger Bank wind farms are located more than 130 km from the Yorkshire coast. Due to its size and scale, the overall wind farm is being built in three consecutive 1.2 GW phases. The project partners reached financial close on the first two phases,
Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B, at the beginning of December. Further to Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B, the project companies are also developing the Dogger Bank C project for which it is expected that a financial decision will come in late 2021. The projects will be capable of powering up to 4.5 UK million homes each year when complete in 2026. Each project is expected to generate around 6 TWh of electricity annually.

Dogger Bank A and B is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni (20%). Dogger Bank C is a 50:50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor. SSE Renewables is leading on the construction and delivery of Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Equinor will operate Dogger Bank Wind Farm on completion for its lifetime of up to 35 years.

Dogger Bank will be one of the first offshore wind projects in the UK to use HVDC technology to transmit the electricity produced back to shore, ensuring that the electricity is transmitted over long distances while minimising losses. Upon first installation in Dogger Bank A during 2023, the project’s HVDC facility will also become the largest ever at 1.2 GW, marking a tremendous scale-up from the previous industry benchmark of 800 MW.

“We’ve committed to build this project with record low CfD strike prices and the associated benefits this provides to UK electricity consumers. We will do this by using the latest technologies to ensure we build and operate the wind farm efficiently, while achieving the highest standards in safety. In order to build this complex infrastructure project competitively, whilst introducing a new technical solution here in the UK, the Dogger Bank project team needed to drive a huge step change in design,”
said Steve Wilson, Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

Working closely with platform manufacturer Aibel, the Dogger Bank team were challenged to design the first unmanned offshore HVDC substation in the world.

Developers stated that by removing the need for personnel to stay on the platform meant it was then possible to eliminate elements such as the living quarters, helideck and sewage systems, resulting in a 70% reduction in weight (per megawatt) of the topside compared to previous platforms installed, and cost savings of hundreds of millions of pounds (GBP).

Jon Kippenes, Offshore Platform Manager for Dogger Bank, commented: “Traditional methods have been effective at transmitting electricity from wind farms that are closer to shore, but with Dogger Bank being so far from shore, we chose to use HVDC as it is much more efficient to transfer electricity over long distances.

“As the first project to do this in the UK we were faced with potentially high costs and uncertainty, but by taking learnings from unmanned installation in Oil and Gas, and working closely with our supplier we have designed an innovative and safe platform with huge reductions in weight. This of course lowers the cost for this project, but also sets a new standard for offshore HVDC platforms. The Dogger Bank transmission concept was turned from being the project’s Achilles heel into a competitive edge.”

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