Subcontractor Jones Bros Civil Engineering has begun the first section of earthworks for the converter stations for the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.
The converter stations, south of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, will receive an AC current via the cables from the wind turbines and convert it to a DC current before sending it to the National Grid.
Dogger Bank will be located more than 130km off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea and is being developed in three 1.2GW phases by joint venture partners SSE Renewables and Equinor.
The project is the first wind farm in the world to use HVDC technology, due to its distance from shore.
The HVDC route comprises of 30km of ducting with trenches totalling 120km for ducting and cables.
Horizontal directional drilling is also taking place to install the cabling ducting beneath existing structures, including roads, railways, canals, common land and rivers with minimal disruption.
Jones Bros is also continuing to build access tracks, with 13km in place since the civil engineering contractor started on site earlier in the year.
The full works are expected to take two and a half years to complete. Jones Bros contracts director Garod Evans said: “We have more than 30 horizontal drills to carry out, which includes building a drilling pit to allow our supply chain partner Johnston Trenchless Solutions, also UK based, to operate.
“The horizontal drilling method will be used on multiple roads, canals, a river and a railway line to avoid unnecessary disruption.
“The team are also carrying out earthworks and drainage ahead of the installation of the convertor station platform where the cables will run to.”
Dogger Bank Wind Farm project manager Ollie Flattery said: “Jones Brothers have done a fantastic job getting project construction underway in such challenging circumstances, whilst ensuring those working on site, as well as the community in which they are operating are kept safe.
“We look forward to continuing working with Jones Brothers on the project in the months ahead as we develop the innovative infrastructure needed to provide clean energy for millions of UK households.”
GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X 13 MW prototype, the world’s most powerful wind turbine in operation, has received a full type certificate from DNV GL.
This full type certification, which follows a provisional type certification announced in June, provides independent verification that the new turbines will operate safely, reliably and according to design specifications.
Full type certification is a “key step” in enabling customers to obtain financing when purchasing the turbines.
Certifying the Haliade-X involved a series of tests on a 12 MW prototype located in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, plus tests of the turbine’s 107 metre blades at the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult centre in Blyth, UK, and the Massachusetts Wind Technology Testing Center in Boston, US.
GE Renewable Energy offshore wind chief technology officer Vincent Schellings said: “This is a key milestone for us as it gives our customers the ability to obtain financing when purchasing the Haliade-X.
“Our continued goal is to provide them the technology they need to drive the global growth of offshore wind as it becomes an ever more affordable and reliable source of renewable energy.”
“At DNV GL we predict that offshore wind will generate almost 9% of electricity globally by 2050.
One GE Haliade-X 12 MW offshore wind turbine can generate up to 67 gigawatt-hours of gross annual energy production, providing enough clean energy to power 16,000 European households.
The Haliade-X has been selected as the preferred wind turbine for the 120 MW Skipjack and 1100 MW Ocean Wind projects in the US.
GE Renewable Energy recently announced that the prototype has been optimised and is now operating at a 13 MW power output.
Testing will continue and the company said it expects to obtain a type certificate for the Haliade-X at 13 MW in the first half of 2021.
The Haliade-X 13MW offshore wind turbine will be used in the first two phases of UK’s Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, with a total of 190 units to be installed starting in 2023.
If consented and brought forward for development, the SSE Renewables scheme would, it is claimed, see 242 turbines capable of generating enough renewable energy for more than all the homes in Scotland.
It could power 3.5 million homes each year and reduce carbon emissions by four million tonnes annually, helping power Scotland’s push towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Louise Davis, consents team manager for Berwick Bank Wind Farm, said: “Today, we’re unveiling plans for our new Berwick Bank Offshore Wind Farm, which could have an installed capacity of up to 2.3GW, making it one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms if constructed.
“The proposed development would be capable of powering 3.5 million homes with renewable energy each year, more than all the homes in Scotland, and cutting the country’s annual carbon emissions by around four million tonnes, equivalent to removing two thirds of all cars from Scottish roads.
“In this way, Berwick Bank would help make a major impact on meeting the country’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2045.”
The project is being developed by SSE Renewables, alongside plans for its neighbouring Marr Bank Offshore Wind Farm project.
The two projects have different timescales, with a public consultation and exhibition focusing on Berwick Bank getting under way next week.
If consented for development, Berwick Bank would represent a multi-billion-pound investment opportunity for SSE Renewables to help power forward Scotland’s climate action ambitions.
As the project progresses, SSE Renewables will host ‘Meet the Developer’ events to outline opportunities for the local economy.
The company is also undertaking a socio-economic study to help inform requirements for the project and will share the report with local authorities, port authorities and government in 2021.
A public consultation gets under way on Monday and runs through until December 7.
During the three-week consultation, details will be shared online and there will also be four live internet question and answer sessions taking place between November 23 and 26.
The wind turbine quay plans involves a 50m wide heavy-duty hardstanding loading facility. The project will support 100 jobs during construction and once finished will also provide crucial access from the River Tees to the planned 4.5m sq ft of manufacturing, storage and office space development at Teesworks.
Phase one of the project will see 450m of the new quay facility built. The second phase of works will see an additional 600m of quay being developed.
Work is due to begin late next summer to finish before the end of 2022, allowing the quay to start loading wind turbines for the what will be the world’s largest wind farm at Dogger Bank.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This huge area of unused land is in such a unique location and has so much potential to help us transform the whole of the Teesworks site into a global logistics and manufacturing centre creating thousands of well-paid jobs for local people.
“The development of the South Bank Quay is an essential step towards establishing us as a pioneer in clean energy, and it would make Teesworks the UK’s premier offshore wind location, just a matter of weeks after the Government announced plans for the UK to be the world leader in offshore wind energy.”
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has allocated new multi-million-pound funding pots to cleantech innovators, including companies developing AI for wind turbines and high-power batteries for electric cars.
New multi-million-pound funding pots to cleantech innovators, including companies developing AI for wind turbines and high-power batteries for electric cars.
Tuesday 3 November saw the Department confirm its plans for spending £49m on the UK’s electric mobility sector, to help prevent transport emissions rebounding post-lockdown and to create new jobs in the field.
Some £10m of the pot is being allocated as part of the Automotive Transformation Fund;
£29m has been earmarked for projects creating a bigger market for second-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries;
and the remaining £10m will be spent on improving automation technologies to improve EV charging.
Recipients include Nissan, which will create automated charging infrastructure at its Sunderland manufacturing plant, and the BSA Company, which is developing a “true retro motorcycle” with a battery-powered engine. AMTE Power has also received a share to scale up its EV battery cell production line in Thurso, Scotland, while TALGA will be supported to develop EV batteries capable of delivering longer ranges.
The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s chief executive Ian Constance said the funding “demonstrates the real and ongoing commitment of government and industry working together to advance the UK’s vibrant automotive technology development sector towards a fully electrified future”.
Then, on 4 November, BEIS outlined how Innovate UK will be allocating the next round of its Sustainable Innovation Fund, totalling £134m. A total of 1,068 projects have received a share and the maximum amount allocated to one project is £175,000.
Other funding recipients include Welsh firm KegTracker, which uses AI to reduce keg waste from pubs and bars and seaweed-based materials innovator Oceanium.
“The UK’s response to coronavirus has demonstrated the very best of British ingenuity, and it is this resourcefulness that will help us navigate our way through this pandemic,” Business Secretary Alok Sharma said.
“Today’s investment will ensure that our innovators and risk-takers can continue to scale up their ideas, helping the UK to build back better and ensure we meet our clear commitments on tackling climate change.”
It is clear that innovation will play a role in the green recovery movement, but opinion differs on the extent of its importance and the processes governments will adopt. Capgemini is urging nations to focus on innovations with a “high impact” on climate mitigation, including bifacial solar panels, battery storage and deep retrofits. The IEA has argued that some 75% of the emissions reductions necessary to meet net-zero are dependent on technologies which have not yet reached commercial maturity, while Project Drawdown has outlined scenarios in which the majority of emissions reductions are delivered by technologies, systems and processes which already exist.
The JV will be able to harness both companies’ “wealth of expertise within the wind energy sector and support their mutual growth ambitions as they continue to strengthen their respective UK wind portfolios, with the potential to collaborate on other projects in the future”, the partners said.
It was understood at one point over the summer a deal between the utility and Red Rock was seen as unlikely after a third party entity lodged a bid. However, ESB has now prevailed.
Inch Cape is set to be constructed 15km off the Angus Coast in the east of Scotland and will connect into the national grid at Cockenzie in East Lothian.
Red Rock Power chief executive Guy Madgwick said: “Inch Cape will, without a doubt, make a considerable impact on the country’s clean energy targets and create significant opportunities to support a green economic recovery.
“We look forward to working alongside our colleagues at ESB on the project and to applying synergies within our teams to drive the development forward to a successful build.
“We sought a partner who shared our passion for renewable energy, supporting UK industry growth and tackling climate change.
“We are excited to be working with ESB and for the potential to collaborate on other projects in the future as we continue to expand our company both in the UK and across Europe.”
ESB executive director generation and trading Jim Dollard said: “We look forward to pooling our expertise and experience with a partner of the calibre of Red Rock Power to deliver the Inch Cape project.
With consent for up to one gigawatt and 72 turbines, this is a milestone investment in offshore wind for ESB and our ambition to lead the transition to a low-carbon future.
“This builds on similar partnerships ESB has with leading renewable energy companies in developing offshore wind projects off the coast of Ireland and Great Britain.”
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Offshore wind in Scotland’s 462,000km2 of waters will play a vital part in achieving our net zero ambitions while helping to drive a strong, green economic recovery.
“Inch Capehas the potential to significantly contribute to this recovery, to help deliver Scotland’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and to support the Scottish supply chain.
“Therefore I welcome the partnership between Red Rock and ESB as the project moves forward to the next phase.
“Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, supporting the continuing growth and expansion of the sector.
“We want to harness this huge resource for our energy system, unlocking significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector and support the wider decarbonisation of our energy system, including electrification of transport and heat.”