Duddon foundations in the water

The first foundations have been installed at the 389MW West of Duddon Sands (WoDS) wind farm being jointly developed off the UK by Dong Energy and Iberdrola-owned ScottishPower Renewables.

The giant jack-up installation vessel Pacific Orca arrived this week at the site, some 15km off the Cumbian coast in northwest England, to install the first batch of five monopile foundations and associated equipment.

“Having installed the offshore sub-station in mid-May we are now starting on the main offshore construction works, installing the wind farm,” Charlie Jordan, WoDS project director at ScottishPower Renewables tells Recharge.

“We will commence putting up the turbines in August,” says Jordan. “So once the grid connection is available, we expect to have the site commissioned and exporting power this year, while we are still putting up the turbines.”

Foundation components – transition pieces and monopiles fabricated by Bladt Industries at Aalborg in Demmark – will be taken to the new operations terminal in Belfast, for loading onto the two installation vessels Pacific Orca and Sea Installer.

Jordan expects all 108 Siemens SWT-3.6-120 turbines to be fully commissioned and operational by the end of 2014.

Benj Sykes, Dong’s UK country manager, says that the joint venture has gone with “tried and tested technology that we and our partner knew”.

Sykes says Dong aims to build 6.5GW of offshore wind across its main markets in northwest Europe – the UK, France, Germany and Denmark – by 2020. “The UK is very much a major piece of that strategy,” he says.

Dong believes bigger offshore installation vessels are one way to help greatly reduce development costs. “We need to bring down the cost of offshore wind by about 30%-40% from  €160/MWh to €100/MWh by 2020.

“When you add together WoDS,  Westermost Rough, the Burbo Bank and Walney extension projects, Hornsea and Celtic Array – that is a lot of gigawatts from future projects,” he adds.