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First turbine up at E.ON's Rampion UK offshore wind farm

Construction of E.ON's 400MW Rampion wind farm off Britain has moved into top gear with installation of the project's first turbine.

Rampion, located in 20-40 metres of water some 13km off Brighton on the southern coast of England, is being built using the MPI Discovery, which will erect the remaining 115 Vestas V112-3.45MW turbine over the course of this year.

“After seven years of planning, development and initial construction, we are especially proud to have reached this major milestone, which will see the Rampion project really begin to take shape," states Rampion development and stakeholder manager Chris Tomlinson.

"The first turbine is a powerful symbol of the engineering achievement that Rampion and other offshore wind farms represent."

The heavy-lift jack-up will be joined midsummer by sister vessel MPI Adventure in the task of ferrying components to the development site from Esbjerg, Denmark, where they are being loaded with eight 80-metre towers, eight nacelles and 24 turbine blades at a time.

“Since we completed the foundation installation in November, our multi-skilled teams have continued to install the onshore and offshore electrical infrastructure, and have made final preparations for the turbine construction."

First power from Rampion, which is part owned by Canada's Enbridge and the UK Green Investment Bank, is slated for later this year, with ramp-up in 2018 to eventually generate electricity for almost 347,000 homes.

Meanwhile, onshore, construction of the operations and maintenance base at Newhaven Port is also about to start. The supply hub will employ up to 60 full-time staff to run logistics and supply support for the turbine fleet.