Electricity has been generated for the first time from the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Windfarm, a major renewable energy project being developed by ScottishPower Renewables and DONG Energy in the Irish Sea
The windfarm is located around 20 kilometres off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness in North West England where it covers an area of 67 square kilometres. Engineers have now installed 42 of the 108 turbines and the commissioning process is also now underway. Power from four of the turbines is being exported to the UK national grid.
Once completed later this year, the windfarm will be able to generate up to 389MW of electricity, enough capacity to meet the electricity demand of around 300,000 homes.
Over the last two years, engineers have installed more than 200 kilometres of cables and all 108 foundation structures. The generated electricity initially connects to a specially designed offshore substation where the voltage is increased. Two export cables then take the electricity ashore to the onshore substation at Heysham which connects the windfarm to the UK national grid.
The project is at the forefront of efforts to reduce the cost of offshore wind and benefits from two of the world’s most advanced installation vessels, the Pacific Orca and the Sea Installer. It utilises a new £50 million offshore wind terminal at Belfast Harbour which is the first such terminal in the UK to be purpose-built for offshore wind installation and pre-assembly, supporting up to 300 jobs.
“First power is a significant point to reach on a project, and it’s an ideal beginning to an exciting year for West of Duddon Sands” said Benj Sykes, UK Country Manager at DONG Energy’s Wind business. “We’ve now installed more than one third of the turbines and commissioning of those is underway, and we’re on course to complete the project by the end of this year. Enormous credit is due to everyone who has been involved in helping to reach this milestone.”
According to Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, over 1000 people are currently working on the project.
“The new development at Belfast Harbour has also been crucial in the progress of the project” Mr Anderson added. “The investment in this bespoke facility is a major step forward for the offshore wind industry, and we hope it will act as a blueprint for similar projects at other locations around the UK.