UK: Stanislav Yudin Installs First Offshore Foundation at Gwynt y Môr

The first of 160 steel foundations that will make up Gwynt y Môr, one of Europe’s largest offshore wind farms has been successfully installed off the north Wales coast.

The achievement has been celebrated by RWE npower renewables, which is constructing the wind farm over the next two years, to generate enough energy from the wind to meet the needs of around 400,000 homes – equivalent to almost a third of all the homes in Wales.

Yesterday, the first of two offshore substations has set sail for Liverpool Bay after being designed and built by Siemens in Manchester and Harland and Wolff in Belfast.

The first export cable, which will transport power from the offshore substations to shore, is currently being laid near Pensarn.

RWE npower renewables’ Gwynt y Môr Project Director, Toby Edmonds explained: “The first foundation was installed using the heavy lift vessel Stanislav Yudin, in the early hours of Wednesday morning (08 August) and to the specified depth of 23.2metres.

“We are delighted with this very successful first installation, which marks a next crucial stage of the two year construction period of this flagship wind farm, which began with the installation of scour protection in January.

“Gwynt y Môr has already enabled over £310million of investments into the Welsh and UK supply chain, and its full operation at the end of 2014 will see the delivery of a further significant community benefit fund into the local area of £19million, to be paid over the lifetime of the project.

“With the installation of these foundations, we are taking our steps closer to realising more of these benefits for the local area.”

Each wind turbine foundation at Gwynt y Môr consists of a steel monopile, between 60 – 70 metres long and 6-7metres wide, a yellow transition piece and access platform.

The turbine itself consisting of a tower, nacelle and three blades, is then placed on top using a jack-up barge.

Sets of foundations will be transported to the installation vessel by barge from Gwynt y Môr’s base harbour port facility on the banks of the River Mersey in Birkenhead.

Gwynt y Môr has set up a Project Information Line for anyone with queries about this latest phase of construction works.

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.

Offshore construction at Gwynt y Môr is taking place more than ten miles offshore and began earlier this year with preparations to the seabed, continuing with the installation of two jacket foundation structures for the offshore substations in May 2012.

Onshore, the new 400kV Bodelwyddan substation south of St Asaph Business Park is now live and connected to the National Grid. The 132kV substation, on the same site, which takes electricity from the offshore substations, will be connected into the National Grid later this year. The 11km onshore cable route between Pensarn and St Asaph is due to be completed later this year.

Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm is being constructed 13 kilometres off the North Wales coast, in water depths of 12-28 metres, and was granted approval by DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) back in December 2008.

Gwynt y Môr’s construction so far has already supported hundreds of jobs and generated over £80million economic prosperity for Welsh businesses. Once fully operational, it will be responsible for at least another 100 long term, skilled engineering jobs throughout its operational lifetime.

Press Release, August 14, 2012;  Image: Gusto MSC