Forewind to Use Innovative Foundation Design for Dogger Bank Masts (UK)

 

The Forewind consortium will employ an innovative new foundation design concept next year when it installs two meteorological masts on the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm zone, located between 125 and 290 kilometres off the North Yorkshire coast.

Forewind Limited, developers of the Dogger Bank zone, signed a contract with Fred Olsen United AS to design, construct and install the two met masts and foundations at the site by late 2012.

The met masts, which will monitor wave and wind conditions at Dogger Bank, will be produced by Brighton-based SeaRoc. Marine engineering specialists, Harland and Wolff will produce the foundations in Belfast.

The foundation design, known as a suction installed bucket, was identified as part of the Carbon Trust’s collaborative Offshore Wind Accelerator programme, an initiative which aims is to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy by 10 per cent via research, development and demonstration.

The Carbon Trust held a foundation design competition that attracted 104 entries from throughout the world and resulted in seven finalists including the suction bucket, designed by Danish specialists Universal Foundation A/S.

The foundation is guided into place via an operator varying the pressures within hundreds of water jets integral to its base, as the vacuum sucks it into the seabed. It uses less steel than conventional piled foundations and its design removes the need for pile driving, seabed preparations, scour protection and a transition piece.

The foundations will be installed on Dogger Bank using a new 132m jack-up vessel, Brave Tern, which is now under construction.

To confirm the performance of the innovative foundations, verify the design parameters and measure the loads and conditions they endure on Dogger Bank, one will be equipped with strain gauges, meters and data collection systems.

Forewind General Manager, Lee Clarke said that installation of the met masts would represent a significant milestone for Forewind, but also potentially for the offshore renewables industry if the new foundation proves capable of delivering significant costs benefits.

 “We have taken our requirements for met masts to look beyond the standard approach and instead use the opportunity to demonstrate a new, and potentially very exciting, technology with possible benefits well beyond just the Dogger Bank development,” Dr Clarke said. “The size and scale of the Dogger Bank project means Forewind has to look for innovative flexible solutions and work in close cooperation with both suppliers and the offshore wind industry to maximise opportunities.”

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Source: forewind, October 19, 2011

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