Milestone reached in development of huge offshore wind farm

ANOTHER milestone has been reached ahead of work starting on a huge wind farm project off the Yorkshire coast, with the completion of one of the largest seabed studies in the history of the offshore wind industry.

£13m seabed surveys have been completed on what will be one of the world's largest offshore wind farms.

Hornsea Project One could help create up to 2,500 jobs and will see as many as 332 turbines built 64 miles off the Yorkshire coast.

A final decision has not yet been made on constructing the 1.2 gigawatt farm, which is due to start generating electricity by 2020, but a £13m survey of the seabed is now complete. The survey, undertaken by Dutch-owned Fugro, took four months and involved two of the largest geotechnical vessels on the market.

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Søren Egede Johannesen, team lead in DONG Energy’s Site Investigation Project Management, said: “This is the biggest geotechnical campaign we have undertaken and among the largest seabed investigation campaigns the offshore wind industry has seen.”

Hornsea Project One will cover an area of around 400 square kilometres and has the potential to power up to 800,000 homes. It is receiving backing from the Government through one of its new “contracts for difference” which effectively guarantees the supplier a minimum price for the power they generate.

It received development consent from Energy Secretary Ed Davey last December and in February DONG Energy acquired full ownership of the project from joint venture partner SMart Wind. Daniel Deen, Senior Project Manager at Fugro GeoConsulting said: “The performance on this campaign has been a great example of how the various parties should come together and deliver a large-scale project during the winter months, which historically have not been kind.”

Last month the final turbine was installed on the 35-turbine 210MW Westermost Rough wind farm off Withernsea, in which DONG Energy has a 50 per cent stake.

Further down the coast the 73-turbine 219MW Humber Gateway farm is also nearing completion.