E.ON Piles On Rampion Foundations and Noise Complaints

E.ON’s Rampion Project Team has completed piling work on 55 out of 116 foundations on the 400MW Rampion offshore wind farm, off the coast of Sussex, UK.

The update on the project was revealed in E.ON’s apology to residents living near the Sussex coastline who once again complained about suffering sleepless nights recently due to a ‘thumping noise’ coming from the site.

In a response to the complaints received back in July, the project team has started to implement a policy of self-regulation when piling at night, whereby the team delays operations until the following morning if conditions may cause audible noise.

Following the implementation of this policy, the number of complaints was reduced until 23 August, when E.ON again received several complaints about piling noise disturbing residents’ sleep in the early hours.

E.ON said that the piling operations planned during 22 August were scheduled to be carried out prior to the expected changes in weather and atmospheric conditions which could cause audible noise, forecast for the morning of 23 August.

”However due to an unforeseeable issue with the operation we encountered a number of delays,” E.ON said in the statement.

”For the safety of the installation vessel and all on board, the piling operation must be completed once it has commenced and as such piling had to continue until 05:00. This coincided with an earlier than anticipated change in wind direction, weather and ambient conditions which made the noise more noticeable. It appears from current forecasts that conditions in coming nights may be similar to those when we have previously experienced complaints (periods of very warm weather and particularly low ambient background noise). We will therefore continue to review conditions on a daily basis and suspend activity in instances where we anticipate the noise levels will affect residents at night.”

The complaints also came in the afternoon hours of Wednesday, 24 August. E.ON said that the increased noise on that day was caused by the team ”piling the single most difficult foundation location in terms of seabed geology, which means the hammer energy had to be increased, causing audible noise.”

Two jack up barges – the MPI Discovery and Pacific Orca – are currently installing the remaining 61 foundations by using a 1,000 tonne crane to lift each foundation upright before being lowered and piled into the sea bed.

The 116 turbine project being built 13km off the Sussex coast by E.ON, the UK Green Investment Bank plc and Canadian energy company Enbridge, is due to be completed in 2018.

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