Fugro brings innovation to Arklow Bank offshore site investigations

Fugro has completed fieldwork on a geotechnical site investigation for SSE Renewables’ Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 located approximately 6 to 13 kilometers off the coast of Ireland.

The offshore investigation works were performed aboard DEME’s jack-up vessel Neptune over an eight-week period.

Fugro said it had developed a bespoke casing system designed for the offshore site conditions to enable survey work to be completed with minimal downtime.

The acquired geo-data will be used to understand the site’s subsurface conditions and support foundation designs and installation.

The Dutch company also engineered a full suite of purposely designed conductor casing handling devices to remove manual intervention, improve health and safety of deck crew and ensure deployment efficiency within the short slack water windows.

Laboratory testing is currently underway, building on the site testing completed in Fugro’s offshore laboratory.

“The successful completion of this ground investigation campaign is another key milestone for the Arklow project,” said John O’Sullivan, SSE Renewables’ Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 project manager.

“It has enabled us to gain a much clearer understanding of the seabed conditions within the lease area. This enhanced site characterisation greatly supports our ongoing design development works in the lead up to the first offshore energy auction.”

Phase 2 of Arklow Bank Wind Park builds on the existing seven-turbine 25 MW Arklow Bank Phase 1, which SSE co-developed with GE Energy in 2004 as a demonstrator project.

Arklow Bank Phase 1 is Ireland’s first and only operating offshore wind farm and Arklow Bank 2 is set to become the country’s first offshore wind farm of scale.

Earlier this year, SSE Renewables achieved planning permission from An Bord Pleanála for the onshore grid infrastructure necessary to connect the 800 MW Phase 2 to Ireland’s electricity transmission grid and from Wicklow County Council for the development of an O&M facility at South Dock, Arklow Harbour.

The offshore wind energy project is expected to require an investment of up to €2.5 billion and, under current planning timelines, is expected to deliver first power in 2028 and be completed in 2029, subject to a final investment decision.

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