npower renewables’ Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm marked a significant construction milestone today, with completion of the installation of all 25 wind turbine foundations off the North Wales coast.
HLV Svanen's 80metre high crane holds one of the last transition pieces in place ready for connection to the monopile
Despite challenging weather conditions, the main foundation works at the company’s second major offshore wind farm in the UK have been completed on schedule, bringing to an end the work of the piling vessel HLV Svanen, which has been a familiar feature on the local horizon since April 2008.
Project Manager Gareth Penhale said: “We’re delighted that this crucial first stage of the installation of the 90 megawatt wind farm has now been completed. Despite the challenges of the weather, which has been particularly unsettled throughout June and July, we have managed to complete this work on schedule. This establishes the foundations on which we can construct the wind turbines and generate safe, clean energy for around 61,000 homes for years to come.
Laying of scour protection and cable tubes will continue at the site of the offshore foundations, throughout the construction of the turbine towers and Nacelles (the hub and blades), which is due to take place during autumn 2008.
Once fully operational, around mid 2009, the wind farm will make an important contribution towards achieving government targets for renewable energy electricity generation. It will help in the battle against climate change by offsetting the release of tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas that would otherwise be produced by traditional fossil fuel-burning energy generation.
The end of the main foundation works also marks the start of the electrical offshore cabling works.
These will begin with a three week phase of cable laying from the beach area near Towyn out to three of the recently completed foundations at the wind farm site, five miles off the coast. Part of the beach works involves connecting the offshore cables to the onshore electrical distribution network. The final phase of the offshore cable works involves laying cables between the other 22 foundations. This will start immediately after the beach to offshore cable lay phase.
All of the cables will be simultaneously laid and buried between 1 and 2 metres below the seabed using an onboard plough, pulled along the seabed by the AMT Explorer. Three separate lay and burial routes will be installed.
Project manager Gareth Penhale added: “Construction of Rhyl Flats is progressing according to plan and the laying of the cables is a very important step in the delivery of this major renewable energy project which every year will prevent the release of thousands of tonnes of damaging carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
Once the cable lay works are complete and all 25 foundations are connected, this will allow the 90 megawatts (MW) of green power, enough for approximately 61,000 homes, to be brought onshore every year and fed into the local distribution network.
Rhyl Flats, which is 5 miles off the North Wales coast at the eastern end of Constable Bank, will comprise 25 turbines. The first turbines are expected to start generating by the end of November 2008 and project completion is anticipated in July 2009, depending on weather and progress.