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Dogger Bank wind farm features novel turbine foundations

28 January 2013

Innovative suction-installed wind turbine foundations are on their way to Dogger Bank, for first stage construction of the world's largest offshore wind farm.

Photo: Forewind/CHPV
Photo: Forewind/CHPV

The structures, known as Bucket Foundations, will support two meteorological masts that will provide essential weather information. They were developed by Danish firm Universal Foundation (a Fred. Olsen-related company) through The Carbon Trust's Offshore Wind Accelerator programme, which takes the best designs for offshore wind turbine foundations from design through to deployment.

"This is the first deployment of the Bucket Foundation in UK waters," said Phil De Villiers, head of the OWA programme. "We're excited about what this means for offshore wind development. The foundations represent 30 percent of the total cost of a wind farm. Reducing the capital and installation costs could really make an impact on the viability of future projects."

Dogger Bank is being developed by Forewind Limited - a consortium comprised of leading international energy companies RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil. With agreements already in place for the development of six wind farms, the group hopes to have up to 9.6GW of output by 2020.

"This is certainly a momentous occasion for us," said Lee Clarke, Forewind project director and general manager. "The foundations will be the first structure put in place at the Dogger Bank site. It's a sign that this project is really beginning to take shape."

The met masts and foundations were fabricated by Fred. Olsen-related companies under an EPCI contract between Forewind and Fred. Olsen United. They are being ferried to the site from the new Harland and Wolff fabrication plant in Belfast by Fred. Olsen Windcarrier's 132m jack-up vessel Brave Tern. This was the inaugural job for the Brave Tern, which was built in Dubai last year.

"It's wonderful to see the Brave Tern and its cargo underway," said Fred. Olsen United project manager Lars Kjuul Kristensen. "We're so pleased to be playing a vital role right at the start of this major development."

The met masts themselves are set to be installed towards the middle of February.

The Guardian website is hosting a video describing suction-installed wind turbine foundations here.

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