UK: Installation of First Offshore Components at Gwynt y Môr Begins
Installation of the first offshore components at Gwynt y Môr, one of the largest offshore wind farms in Europe, has begun off the north Wales coast.
Work to install two steel jacket foundation structures was started from the Seaway Heavy Lifting crane vessel ‘Stanislav Yudin’, and is continuing approximately 10 miles off the North Wales coast.
Both jackets have been constructed in Scotland by Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab), and have been awaiting a weather window, before being towed on a barge by the “Union Boxer” 940 miles around the UK coast over six days.
The Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan welcomed the announcement that offshore installation is now underway.
She said: “This announcement is excellent news for north Wales and the UK. In Wales , the energy sector is vitally important to our economy and this announcement reaffirms that Wales is perfectly placed to welcome inward investment from the renewable energy sector.”
Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Ltd project director Toby Edmonds was delighted to formally mark the arrival and start of installation of the first offshore components of the 576MW offshore wind farm.
He said: “The waiting is over! This is a landmark day for the Gwynt y Môr project when we can finally begin to see this flagship renewable energy project begin to take shape offshore.
“From now on, Gwynt y Môr will become more visible from the shore, and its true potential can begin to be realised. Once the jacket foundations and offshore substations are installed, monopile foundations installation will begin during this summer and turbine installation will start in 2013, enabling us to remain on schedule for full operation by the end of 2014.”
Llywelyn Rhys, deputy director of RenewableUK Cymru, said: “This is a momentous day for the offshore wind industry and it is good to see Wales leading the way.
“Gwynt y Môr is a massive step towards meeting the Welsh Government’s target of generating up to 6,000 MW from offshore wind by 2025. It also offers a fantastic opportunity for businesses in North Wales to become part of a supply chain that is destined to grow exponentially over the coming years.”
The two steel jackets will each support an offshore substation, being supplied by Siemens Transmission & Distribution Limited. These are being constructed by Harland & Wolff in Belfast. From these substations, the electricity generated by the wind turbines will be transmitted to shore and into the National Grid distribution system.
The Welsh Secretary recently visited Bi-Fab in Fife, Scotland where she saw the jackets on which the substations will sit, being manufactured.
Mrs Gillian added: “When I visited Scotland in March, I met with senior managers at RWE and senior representatives of the Scottish Development International (SDI) to discuss how to attract greater inward investment into Wales. We already have a lot to be proud of: new offshore wind developments like North Hoyle, Rhyl Flats and now we can add Gwynt y Môr, which is a huge boost for the Welsh economy.”
Although slightly different, each of the two jacket foundations weighs approximately 800metric tonnes and is 42 metres tall. The structures have been designed by ODE and manufactured by BiFab at its Methil facility in Scotland, with some of the steel work also subcontracted out to Chepstow-based engineers Mabey Bridge.
The ‘Stanislav Yudin’, a crane vessel with a lifting capacity of 2500 mt and fully revolving crane, will install the jacket foundations and topsides for the two offshore substations along with 60 wind turbine foundations. The vessel is operated by Seaway Heavy Lifting and has been at anchor off the North Wales coast awaiting the arrival of the jacket foundations.
The Stanislav Yudin will depart temporarily from Liverpool Bay once the jacket foundations have been installed, and will return later in the summer to install the substation topsides and begin turbine foundations installation.
CEO at Seaway Heavy Lifting, Martin Spaans, said: “This project allows us to maintain and strengthen our position in the renewable market and we will use all our knowledge and experience to support RWE to remain on schedule and to contribute to the success of the project.”
At 576MW, Gwynt y Môr is one of the largest offshore wind farms currently in construction in Europe. It is a shared investment between partners RWE Innogy, Stadtwerke München GmbH and Siemens(1). Once fully operational, energy generation from Gwynt y Môr is expected to be equivalent to the average annual needs of around 400,000 homes(2).
Offshore construction activity for Gwynt y Môr began in Liverpool Bay in January 2012, with preparations to the seabed, known as scour protection.
Subsea World News Staff , May 09, 2012; Image: RWE