first turbine foundation for the Blyth
Offshore Demonstrator wind farm
is making its way up the River Tyne on route to its final destination.
EDF Energy Renewables is currently building the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator
Wind Farm after taking over responsibility for the scheme from the ORE
Catapult (formerly Narec) in October 2014.
Construction for the wind farm has already begun with work underway on
the onshore substation. Offshore work scheduled to start in 2017. The project's
Vestas V164-8.0MW turbines will
be installed on self-floating and submersible concrete Gravity Based Foundations
(GBFs) 6.5km off the coast of Blyth, UK.
Once the 41.5MW project is completed it is expected to provide enough low
carbon electricity to meet the average annual needs of 34,000 homes.
The GBFs are being installed using a new “float and submerge” method
– the first time this method has been used for offshore wind turbines.
Designed and built by Royal BAM Group in the Neptune dry dock on the Tyne,
the GBFs are being floated into position at sea and submerged onto the
seabed to provide the support structures that act as the foundations for
the installation of the wind turbines.
EDF ER Chief Executive Matthieu Hue said:
“This is the first major offshore operation on this project and over the
coming months people will be able to see the wind farm being built out
at sea. This ground-breaking scheme will benefit the North East of England
and help the UK to meet its future low carbon electricity needs.
“This is the first time that this float and submerge method has been used
on a wind farm project. The GBFs are held in place by gravity and this
unique design reduces the need to use expensive marine equipment for the
installation on the sea bed.”
Each GBF is made up of more than 1,800m3 of concrete and weighs
over 15,000 tonnes when fully installed on the seabed. The structures have
a total height of around 60m from the base to the access platform.
The GBFs have been constructed at the Neptune dry dock over the past 12
months by BAM Nuttall and these structures will be floated down the river
to the Port of Tyne, where extra ballast will be added ahead of their ‘tow-out’
to the offshore wind farm site.
Once the GBFs are put into position over the summer, specialist contractor
VBMS will start laying the inter array cables that will connect the individual
Installation of five turbines will then commence once the cable is securely
buried on the sea bed. The turbines will have a power rating of 8.3MW and
it is anticipated that the turbines will start generating power by the
end of the year.
Divisional Director at BAM Nuttall Scotland and the North of England, Gareth
Farrier said, “Bam Nuttall and the wider BAM group are delighted to
be supporting EDF Energy Renewables on this demonstrator project, through
both the opportunity to deliver innovation and engineering excellence in
overcoming the many design and construction challenges, and by continuing
our long tradition of civil engineering that has many positive impacts
upon the lives of the people in the North-East.”
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