Atkins Going Light on Triton Knoll Foundations

Atkins is designing foundations for Triton Knoll’s 90 MHI Vestas V164-9.5MW turbines and two offshore substations, which have the potential to be lighter than any currently installed in comparable site conditions, the UK-based designer said.

For illustrative purposes only. Image source: innogy

Atkins was contracted by the Smulders-Sif joint venture, which is in charge of manufacturing the foundations and transition pieces for the turbines, as well as two foundations for offshore substations for the project.

“It’s very exciting to know that UK engineering expertise will be at the heart of driving the design of a monopile foundation which has the potential to be lighter than any currently installed in comparable site conditions, so helping to deliver cost reductions at Triton Knoll,” innogy’s Richard Hughes, Foundations Package Manager for Triton Knoll, said.

“innogy and Triton Knoll are key members of the industry-wide Pile Soil Analysis Group which aims to find ways of reducing costs across the sector by implementing new methods of designing monopile foundations. We expect Triton Knoll to be one of the first projects to see the results of these improvements delivered on the ground.”

Atkins believes that the contract will advance technological capability in the UK market, since, as the company said, for much larger turbines, efficient design supporting turbine infrastructure is critical, and as turbines get bigger, more effective and efficient designs for weight, fabrication and installation, as well as increased collaboration across the supply chain, are crucial to the success of the industry.

Andy Thompson, Market Lead for Offshore Engineering at Atkins, said: “Bigger turbines create different engineering challenges; given Triton Knoll is the first offshore wind farm to use the V164-9.5 MW turbine, we’re taking a unique approach to addressing the design questions posed by the project, drawing on all our previous offshore experience, in both wind and oil and gas.”

According to Atkins, critical national infrastructure projects like Triton Knoll have been key to exporting UK skills to other offshore wind markets, such as China, Taiwan and the US, who want to use experience gained in the European market. The accelerated programmes in other countries mean there are plenty of potential opportunities for UK suppliers to be involved in exporting to the global offshore wind market place, the company said.

The 860MW Triton Knoll offshore wind farm started off as a 50%-50% partnership between innogy and Statkraft. However, innogy agreed to buy Statkraft’s 50% stake after the project reaches the financial investment decision (FID).

After the FID, expected mid-2018, the onshore construction will start almost immediately, with offshore construction scheduled to commence in 2020.