Blyth Offshore Windfarm Hits New Milestone
EDF Energy Renewables is currently building the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Wind Farm after taking over responsibility for the scheme from Narec (now ORE Catapult) in October 2014. The project will see five wind turbines with a total generating capacity of 41.5MW installed around 6.5km off the coast of Blyth. Concrete gravity based foundations (GBFs) form part of the project and are being installed using a new ‘float and submerge’ method – the first time this method has been used for offshore wind turbines.
Each GBF is made up of more than 1,800m3 of concrete and weighs over 15,000t when fully installed on the seabed. The structures have a total height of around 60m from the base to the access platform. The GBFs have been constructed over the past twelve months by BAM Nuttall in the Neptune dry dock on the Tyne. Now they are floated down the river to the Port of Tyne, where extra ballast will be added ahead of their ‘tow-out’ to the offshore wind farm site. Submerged onto the seabed they will provide the support structures that act as the foundations for the installation of the wind turbines.
Once the GBFs are put into position over the summer, specialist contractor VBMS will start laying the inter array cables that will connect the individual wind turbines. Installation of five MHI Vestas V164 turbines will then commence once the cable is securely buried on the sea bed. The turbines will have a power rating of 8.3MW – the largest to be used on an offshore windfarm. It is anticipated that the turbines will start generating power by the end of the year.
Wholly owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles, the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator project is being built by EDF Energy Renewables, a 50-50 UK joint venture between EDF Energies Nouvelles and EDF Energy. The windfarm will be EDF Energy Renewables’ second offshore windfarm construction following the Teesside windfarm.