6 Alpha Associates Issues Gwynt y Mor Cable Clearance Certificates
6 Alpha Associates, the strategic advisor for managing specialist risks, has completed a comprehensive, five-month Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) risk management project and as a direct result, has issued final cable UXO clearance certificates to Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, a 160- turbine project located in Liverpool Bay.
The completion of the activity and the issue of the final UXO cable clearance marks an important milestone for the largest offshore wind project currently under construction anywhere in Europe. The work confirms that the threat to cable installation from unexploded ordnance (UXO) has been reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable (ALARP) – a significant achievement following the well-documented discovery and safe disposal of munitions, earlier in 2014.
With European offshore wind projects being constructed in waters that have seen either extensive war fighting, or the dumping of unexploded munitions throughout the twentieth century, there is a widely recognised risk that projects may run into UXO during the construction and operations and maintenance phases.
Having identified and recognised this threat, Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm commissioned 6 Alpha Associates to provide expertise on the reduction of risk associated with the discovery of UXO, and how to quickly and efficiently manage the subsequent disposal process, thereby minimising the impact on construction and development operations.
Specifically, the cable clearance certification provides confirmation that the risk of unexploded ordnance is reduced to As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). This certification includes all new sub sea cabling throughout the site, including inter-array cabling and power transmission to the shore.
“When working in European coastal waters, it is imperative that developers and construction teams acknowledge the very real risk that unexploded ordnance and munitions presents,” said Simon Cooke, Managing Director, 6 Alpha Associates.
“The Second World War saw warfighting and afterwards, extensive dumping of munitions off the UK and other European coasts and, given the rapid development of offshore wind farm activity, it is a challenge that has been properly acknowledged and addressed by RWE.”
“Having advised the Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm construction and project management team since 2006, the resultant UXO discovery and disposal presented a risk that was quickly tackled and safely controlled. The challenge now is to ensure that other developers take heed from this heightened period of activity and continue to take proactive steps to reduce the risk and work within the realms of best practice and legislative guidance,” Cooke added.
6 Alpha Associates continues to work closely with RWE at their Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, to ensure that the threat and risk of UXO discovery and disposal is managed and reduced.
In 2014, 6 Alpha Associates, was selected to co-author the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) guide for the management of offshore UXO risks.
The risk specialist has also signed a long-term framework contract with TenneT, the European grid operator responsible for connecting all offshore wind projects to the German electricity network.