London Array Consortium Announces Offshore Wind Project Progress (UK)

The London Array Consortium today marked the Global Wind Day to announce progress on the 630 MW first phase of London Array, the offshore wind farm that is under construction in the outer Thames Estuary.

Global Wind Day on 15 June gives the industry a chance to showcase the virtues of wind to a public eager to hear about clean-energy alternatives. Global organisations including The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) that are coordinating the event have created a website The website includes an interactive map showing the activities planned by national wind-power associations, companies and other supporters of clean-energy around the world.

London Array, a joint venture between DONG Energy (50 percent), E.ON (30 percent) and Masdar (20 percent), testifies to the commitment of these companies and the UK government to clean energy solutions such as wind power. The project will supply electricity to over 475,000 homes on completion.

At the London Array offshore site, so far 20 of the 177 foundations (175 wind turbines and two offshore substations) have been installed by jack-up barge ‘Sea Worker, accompanied by tugs Sea Alfa and Sea Echo. At the same time, the vessel ’Kirkspray’ is undertaking marine mammal observation duties, prior to and during the piling operations to ensure the safety of all marine life.

Sea Worker, along with specialist heavy lift vessel, Matador 3, has also installed the foundations for the two offshore substations.

The Sea Worker vessel is used in shallower waters, whereas the purpose-built ‘MPI Adventure’ will be deployed for installing the foundations for turbines in deeper waters. The vessels have four extendable legs that lift the deck out of the water to create a stable platform from which piles can be hammered in place, ensuring safe load transfers and sufficient ground connections.

Image-1 shows the ‘monopiles’ (MP) for the substation being upended in preparation for the installation. Image-3 illustrates the installation of transition piece (TP) by Matador 3 and Sea Worker, while Image-4 shows the TP after it is fully installed.

The foundation works at the 100-square km site commenced in March 2011 and phase one is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012.

Located around 20 km from the Kent and Essex coasts, the wind farm will be connected by undersea cables to a new onshore substation, currently being built at Cleve Hill on the North Kent coast.


Source: eon, June 15, 2011; Image: londonarray