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Foundations set: 102 jackets in at £2.5bn EA1 UK offshore wind farm

Van Oord completes largest-ever tripod installation job at 714MW project for developer Iberdrola-SPR

The last of 102 jackets for the ScottishPower Renewables’ 714MW East Anglia 1 (EA1) wind farm in the UK North Sea is now in place.

Installation of the steel tripod foundations – carried out by Dutch contractor Van Oord in what has been the biggest assignment of its kind so far in the industry – moves the £2.5bn project a key step closer to switch-on, currently on track for 2020.

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Faced with working in water depths of more than 40 metres and at a location “where the seas are often rough, the current strong and visibility minimal,” Van Oord developed a bespoke installation template to drive the anchoring piles for each jacket foundation into the seabed “with millimetre precision”.

Arnoud Kuis, director for Van Oord’s offshore wind division, said: “Thanks to our ingenious working methods, the expertise of our project team and close cooperation with our partners and our client, we succeeded in installing all jacket foundations for wind farm EA1 smoothly and safely.

“We are proud to contribute to the UK’s energy transition,” he added.

ScottishPower Renewables, owned by Spanish utility Iberdrola, outsourced the manufacture of the EA1 foundations and piles to suppliers in the UK and the Middle East, with Van Oord using the BOW Terminal Vlissingen, in the Netherlands, for storage so that it was “able to load the right foundations on board the installation vessels at the right time and to respond to ad hoc changes in delivery and planning”.

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Once online, EA1, one of the ten biggest offshore wind farms being built in European waters, which is using 7MW Siemens Gamesa SWT-7.0-154 turbines, will supply more than 630,000 British households with wind power.

The project, granted a contract for difference (CfD) in February 2015 at a strike price of £119.89/MWh, is the first of four same-named projects that could eventually form a 3.6MW mega-complex in the North Sea, including the 1.2GW EA3, the 900MW EA2, and the 800MW EA1 North projects.

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