Preparations for the installation of inter-array cables at the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm site, located some 15 kilometers off the Fife coast in Scotland, have been completed while several other offshore activities are ongoing, including the pile installation for the jacket foundations being performed by the Saipem 3000 crane vessel.
Helix Robotics Solutions, contracted for UXO identification and removal and boulder clearance, completed the final boulder clearance campaign along the inter-array cable routes this month. The company used the vessel Sartor for the work, which was replaced by other vessels a couple of times since the beginning of the work in early April.
This month, Sartor wrapped up the relocation of boulders in the areas where the inter-array cable infrastructure will be located, thus finishing a critical pre-construction activity and moving the project closer to cable installation.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the jacket foundation installation, due to start next year, Saipem’s vessel Saipem 3000 has installed piles at six locations so far, including the locations where Neart na Gaoithe’s two substations will stand.
According to the updates on offshore activities from the project over the past several months, Saipem 3000 started the piling work in August. The vessel will place three piles in pre-drilled sockets at each wind turbine and offshore substation location.
Rock protection campaign at certain locations along the two export cables, which were installed earlier this year, is also underway after the works commenced on 7 November with the fall pipe vessel Simon Stevin arriving at the site.
Construction works are also in full swing on land, with two components of onshore project infrastructure recently transported from Sunderland to Torness Quay on a cargo barge.
The 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe, which entered the offshore construction phase in August 2020, will comprise 54 Siemens Gamesa 8 MW turbines, scheduled for commissioning in 2023.
The offshore wind farm, jointly owned by EDF Renewables UK and ESB, will supply enough electricity for around 375,000 homes and offset over 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.