The Moray East offshore windfarm project completed its first fabrication milestone as Thurso SME engineering firm, JGC Engineering and Technical Services, finalised work on the containers which will be fitted with either high voltage transmission equipment or electrical monitoring and control equipment for the three offshore substation platforms.
The milestone was celebrated by the project teams from Moray East, the project developer, Siemens, the lead contractor and JGC, the supply chain partner with representations from local business and enterprise groups, the Caithness Chamber of Commerce and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
JGC fabricated eight of 12 containers at its site in Thurso and have also supported Siemens with other offshore projects in the UK.
The containers’ total length, height and volume are larger than an Airbus A380 aircraft which highlights the impressive feat Siemens and JGC have completed together. They have been designed to house and protect the specialised high voltage equipment from Siemens which form a vital part of the project’s three offshore substation platforms. The three offshore substation platforms will transform the electrical output of the wind turbines from 66 kilovolts (kV) to the transmission voltage of 220 kV.
Stephen Sutherland, Company Director at JGC Engineering & Technical Services Ltd said:
“JGC were delighted to win the Moray East container fabrication and fit out from Siemens with whom we have now delivered several successful projects for the offshore wind sector over the last five years.
“Winning work in this sector with a major client is hugely important to JGC and the region we do business in, allowing us to re-invest in our facilities and our excellent workforce ensuring strong private business in the Highlands of Scotland.
“JGC employed around 60 people on the project including up to 10 apprentices giving them an opportunity to hone their skills in a new and developing sector whilst delivering what has been described by our client as an excellent quality product.”
From Thurso, the containers will make their way to Fabricom-Smulders in Belgium where the substation equipment will be installed inside. The containers will then be lifted onto the offshore substation platforms, where cabling and equipment will be added and finally, once commissioned, the three platforms will be sailed out to their locations in the Moray Firth in summer 2020.
Multi-million-pound contracts have also been awarded to firms in Scotland for civil construction work in the project and both Moray East and Siemens have been involved in school projects to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Sarah Graham, Transmission Infrastructure Package Manager for Moray East, said:
“The completion of these containers is the first major milestone in the construction of Moray East’s Offshore Transmission Infrastructure and has set a high standard for quality and safety that we will strive to build on as we move into the next stage of fabrication for the offshore substation platforms. We are really pleased to celebrate this milestone with Siemens and JGC as we move one step closer to completing Scotland’s largest offshore windfarm.”
In addition to the three offshore substation platforms, Siemens is responsible for constructing a new onshore substation at New Deer in Aberdeenshire to connect the Moray East project as well as the onshore export cables which will connect the offshore windfarm to the new substation.
Mark Pilling, Managing Director, EPC, Siemens Transmission and Distribution Ltd, said:
“The containers are the heart of the substation, providing the intelligence and safety equipment to run the windfarm effectively. This is the first of many milestones we will achieve on this project to provide low cost, low carbon electricity. We are delighted to have achieved this important milestone and to celebrate the event with those who have worked so hard to get everything ready on time.”
At 950MW, the Moray East development will be capable of providing enough electricity to power almost one million homes. In addition, it will save 1.4 million tonnes CO₂ equivalent annually, compared to gas generation.