The world’s deepest wind turbine foundation has been installed at what will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm – Seagreen – off the coast of Angus.
On Friday, the foundation (or ‘jacket’ as is the industry term) was transported to the project site on a barge operated by main contractor Seaway 7, where it was met by the Saipem 7000 – the semisubmersible crane vessel, which is used to lift each of the 2,000-tonne turbine foundations into place.
The installation of the jacket means Seagreen has now topped its own record from October 2022, when a previous foundation was installed at a depth of 57.4 metres (approximately 188 feet). The deepest foundation has been installed at a depth of 58.6 metres.
The significant milestone also marks the installation of the 112th jacket at the 114-wind turbine wind farm, a £3bn joint venture between SSE Renewables and TotalEnergies. The final wind turbine foundation is expected to be installed later this week.
Welcoming the news, Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Graham Stuart said: “This is another terrific milestone for both Scotland and the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry.
“As I saw first-hand last week, Seagreen is making history with the world’s deepest wind turbine foundation, which, once operational, will play an invaluable role in powering more of Britain from Britain.”
Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Neil Gray MSP, said: “We already know that Scotland has the skills, innovation and natural resources to be a true world-leader in offshore wind technology – from ScotWind to INTOG, to the spectacular Seagreen installation.
“As set out in our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, offshore wind power will play a key role in our energy transition, and the Scottish Government will continue to support the sector to continue to deliver innovative, landmark projects like this – not only generating clean, green energy but delivering increasing economic benefits across our wider supply chains and communities.”
Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said: “Seagreen is an important part of SSE’s £12.5bn Net Zero Acceleration Plan, through which we’re investing £7m a day in critical low-carbon infrastructure that will help the UK achieve energy independence. By the end of the decade, we have plans to invest over £24bn in Britain alone.
“This is not only a significant step on the road to project completion but also shows how we continue to innovate and push the boundaries of technology to power change. Everyone involved in the project can be very proud of their contribution.
“Thanks to a strong and stable policy framework, the UK has established itself as the world leader on offshore wind, and SSE Renewables is building more offshore wind than anyone on the planet. But we want to do more, and now is the time to accelerate if we are to achieve the UK’s target of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.”
John Hill, Seagreen’s Project Director, said: “Reaching this major milestone is a testament to the skill of our project team and all our contractors, including those who are part of our Scottish and UK supply chain.
“More than 50 people are involved each time a foundation installation takes place, including the onshore team, ballast engineer, tug captain, crew, riggers, welders, tow master and pilot.
“Our ability to install jackets at this depth, in what is a challenging geographical area, boosts the UK’s energy security and means that consumers can benefit from the strong winds available far out in the North Sea.”
Each foundation will support a Vestas V164-10 MW turbine. First power was achieved in August 2022, with the offshore wind farm expected to enter commercial operation later this year.
When complete, the 1.1GW wind farm will be capable of generating around 5,000 GWh of renewable energy annually, which is enough clean, secure, sustainable electricity to power more than 1.6m UK homes.
Image source: Courtesy of SSE Renewables; image credit copyright SEAGREEN WIND ENERGY LTD.
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