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UK's first HVDC system eyed for world's biggest offshore wind farm

Distance from shore prompts 3.6GW Dogger Bank developers to opt for Aibel-ABB high voltage direct current stations

Norwegian offshore contractor Aibel has won an order valued at over NKr2.5bn to build two high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations for the giant Dogger Bank offshore wind power mega-project being developed in the UK North Sea by SSE Renewables and Equinor.

The “lean design” steel platforms, which will be equipped with ABB HVDC Light technology, are to be installed on the 3.6GW complex's Creyke Beck A and Creyke Beck B projects, with Aibel in the frame to build a third unit for Teesside A.

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The HVDC stations, will be normally unmanned, operated from shore and accessed only by service operations vessel, will make it possible to transport production from the Dogger Bank zone, located some 130km off the north-east coast of England, to the onshore grid without significant power losses.

Though HVDC stations have been used off Germany, this will be the first such project off the UK.

“This is an important milestone for Dogger Bank with a groundbreaking HVDC technology solution enabling a competitive solution for offshore wind at a long distance from shore,” said Halfdan Brustad, vice president for Dogger Bank at Equinor.

“This will be the first offshore HVDC solution in the UK which opens up new markets and opportunities. The appointment of Aibel and ABB demonstrates cross industry collaboration bringing best expertise into a successful Dogger Bank delivery.”

Paul Cooley, director of capital projects at SSE Renewables, stated: “Dogger Bank is truly a world-leading project, pushing new boundaries in the provision of ground-breaking technology to deliver low-carbon energy generation to help achieve the UK’s net zero ambition by 2050.

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Aibel CEO Mads Andersen said: “This is an important strategic milestone for Aibel. With this award, we strengthen our role in the ongoing energy industry transformation.”

Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Grids bsiness, said: “ ABB is committed to delivering sustainable solutions with pioneering technologies and in the Dogger Bank project we are helping to make offshore wind competitive and thus contributing to a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

The converter station project for Dogger Bank will be staged out of the Aibel Haugesund yard on the west coast of Norway, while construction of the two platform topsides will take place at Aibel's facility in Thailand.

The topside for the Creyke Beck A is slated to arrive in Haugesund in Q2 of 2022, with sail-away to Dogger Bank in Q1 of 2023, and final completion at the field later that. The delivery of Creyke Beck B is scheduled for Q3 of 2024.

Once online, Dogger Bank, which is sited in 20-35 metres of water, will supply power to some 4.5 million British homes.

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