been generated for the first time from the West of Duddon Sands Offshore
Windfarm, a major renewable energy project being developed by ScottishPower
Renewables and DONG Energy in the Irish Sea.
20km off the Barrow-in-Furness coastline in North West England, engineers have
now installed 42 of the 108 turbines that will make up the overall project. The
commissioning process is underway, and power from 4 turbines is now being
exported to the national grid.
Once fully completed
later this year the windfarm will be capable of generating up to 389 megawatts
(MW) of electricity – enough capacity to meet the annual electricity demands of
approximately 300,000 homes.
Site work on the project
has been underway for two years. In this time engineers have installed over 200
km of cables, and all 108 foundation sections have been completed. The total
area covered by the windfarm is 67km², and each individual Siemens turbine has a
capacity of 3.6MW.
generated initially connects in to a specially designed offshore substation. The
voltage from the turbines is increased and two export cables then take the
electricity ashore to the onshore substation at Heysham, where the windfarm is
connected to the UK national grid.
West of Duddon Sands
is at the forefront of industry efforts to reduce the cost of offshore wind. The
project utilises a new £50m offshore wind terminal at Belfast Harbour. The
terminal is the first purpose-built offshore wind installation and pre-assembly
harbour in the UK and Ireland and supports up to 300 jobs, ranging from welders
to electricians and engineers.
The project also benefits
from using two of the world’s most advanced installation vessels. Offshore work
is being carried out by the Pacific Orca and the Sea Installer. Working in
tandem, the vessels have been used to install the foundations and the turbine
components. The size and scale of the purpose-built vessels has driven
efficiencies in the installation process. The Pacific Orca is the world largest
windfarm installation vessel with a length of 161 metres, a breadth of 49 metres
and a depth of 10.4 metres.
Benj Sykes, UK Country
Manager at DONG Energy’s Wind business said: “First power is a significant
point to reach on a project, and it’s an ideal beginning to an exciting year for
West of Duddon Sands. We’ve now installed more than one third of the turbines
and commissioning of those is underway, and we’re on course to complete the
project by the end of this year. Enormous credit is due to everyone who has
been involved in helping to reach this milestone.”
Keith Anderson, CEO of
ScottishPower Renewables said: “Constructing an offshore windfarm is a major
engineering challenge, and it is fantastic to see all of the different elements
of the project coming together to achieve first power. Over 1000 people are
currently working on this project, encompassing a wide variety of skill sets
from electrical engineers to construction technicians to marine biologists. We
need all of these individuals to work together as a team to deliver the project,
and we are delighted with the progress so far."
The new development at
Belfast Harbour has also been crucial in the progress of the project. The
investment in this bespoke facility is a major step forward for the offshore
wind industry, and we hope it will act as a blueprint for similar projects at
other locations around the UK.
“First power is a
significant milestone West of Duddon Sands, especially given the challenging
weather conditions we have seen in recent months, and it gives us confidence
that we will be able to fully complete the project later this year."
Huub den Rooijen, Head of Offshore Wind at The Crown Estate said: "The
UK is already the world leader in offshore wind and this announcement further
demonstrates that the sector is continuing to grow, increasing the contribution
it makes to meeting our energy needs."