WORK has begun on the installation of 277 of the world’s largest offshore wind turbine foundations in the North Sea, in what is another major milestone for the 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which is under construction. development 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast.

The world-class renewable energy project, which will be able to power 6 million UK homes a year when completed, is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni Plénitude (20%) . SSE Renewables is the prime operator for the development and construction of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, while Equinor will be the prime operator of the wind farm when completed for its expected life of approximately 35 years.

The campaign to install the turbine foundations on what will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world has started in recent days, with the installation of the first monopile and the transition piece on Dogger Bank A. The installation campaign is led by Seaway 7 supported by DEME.

The foundations for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm’s turbines are designed in the UK and feature a unique two-tiered transition piece, as well as the world’s largest 8-metre flange – or protruding flat flange – to support the towers turbine.

Installation of GE Renewable Energy’s revolutionary Haliade-X turbines on each of the installed turbine foundations will begin from spring 2023.

Steel made by Tata Steel in Wales and processed at Corby and Hartlepool is used in the transition piece support components, while South Tyneside-based Metec and Rochdale-based Granada Material Handling also won contracts with Smulders to support this innovative and global solution. – carrier project.

Steve Wilson, SSE Renewables Project Manager for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, said:

“These foundations were designed for what is arguably the most demanding wave environment one can encounter at an offshore wind farm and is a testament to the many companies involved in working together to reach this unprecedented milestone.”

“In addition to the breadth of the foundations, we have incorporated a unique two-level transition piece that allows technicians to safely access directly into the turbine tower from our service and operating vessels, eliminating thousands of manual handling activities and lifting operations over the lifetime of the assets.

“The successful installation of our first monopiles and transition pieces is a huge step for offshore wind globally and will lay the foundation for the Dogger Bank wind farm to help achieve the UK’s net zero target, enabling the development of a cleaner, cheaper and more secure future energy system. It also demonstrates the continued innovation in our industry as we begin to install the ever larger and more powerful turbines that are needed to power our safe homes and businesses in a net zero world.

Designed in the UK by experts at Wood Thilsted, the foundations have been optimized to cope with the difficult wave loads in the Dogger Bank area of ​​the North Sea, with installation in water depths of up to 32 m and at a distance of 130 km from shore, and provide a solid and stable base for the scale of GE Renewable Energy’s revolutionary Haliade-X turbines.

Alastair Muir Wood, CEO of Wood Thilsted, said:

“Wood Thilsted is proud to contribute to the success of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Our team faced challenges including working with the largest turbine at the time, an innovative dynamic positioning installation vessel, and very large wave loads. »

“What made the success possible was the collaborative working relationship shared with the Dogger Bank team and other key stakeholders. This project is a model of success for current and future projects.

During the three-year installation program for the three phases of the Dogger Bank wind farm, a total of 277 monopiles and transition pieces will be loaded onto installation vessels in Rotterdam before being transferred to the offshore wind farm site. deep in the North Sea. Using dynamic positioning technology, the vessels will locate the installation site in the seabed, from which a monopile measuring up to 72m (equivalent to more than 6 double-decker buses laid end to end), will be overturned and transferred to a pile gripper, before being lowered to the seabed.

A hammer will be used to drive the monopile to the design depth in the seabed before a guiding system aligns the installation of the 8 meter record flanges which serve as a connection for the transition piece which is then installed on the monopile . The foundations require 152 giant M80 bolts to secure them before a cover is inserted over the top of the transition piece to leave it watertight.

Seaway 7 has been awarded the first tier contract to install the foundations on all three phases of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, with contractor DEME deploying its Innovation vessel for the installation of the first foundations on the Dogger Bank A. After DEME Innovation, the Seaway strashnovwill deploy on Dogger Bank A to continue the installation of the foundations.

Wouter van Dalen, Project Director, Seaway 7, said:

“The successful installation of the first Dogger Bank foundation marks the start of a multi-year installation campaign for Seaway 7. In close collaboration with our client Dogger Bank Wind Farm and our partners and suppliers, this complex project has been prepared for l installation with a number of different heavy lift vessels, starting with DEME Innovation Seaway 7 is proud to be part of the team building the Dogger Bank project and looks forward to safely installing all 276 foundations remaining.

Lucien Romagnoli, Business Unit Director Renewables at DEME Offshore, said:

“We are extremely proud to support the construction of the largest offshore wind farm in the world with the installation of the foundations and later in the program as an installer of the inter-grid cables. These unique foundations are enormous but also, they are technically complex. This is an important moment for offshore wind and the energy transition. It is wonderful to work alongside like-minded partners with the common goal of achieving a net zero energy system.

In November 2020, the Sif and Smulders consortium won the contract to manufacture all 190 monopiles and transition pieces for the Dogger Bank A and B phases of the wind farm, with a contract for all 87 monopiles and transition pieces remainder of Dogger Bank C awarded to consortium in 2021.