First of 86 subsea platforms for £2.6bn Moray Firth offshore wind farm are installed

A 1,000-tonne platform is moored at the Beatrice offshore wind farm
The first 1,000-tonne platform is moored at the Beatrice offshore wind farm

The first of 86 sub-sea platforms to support the wind turbines at the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm in the Moray Firth has been installed, marking a major milestone in the £2.6 billiion renewable energy generation project.

A heavy-lifting sea-borne crane will complete the installation of the first phase of jackets, each of which weigh in the region of 1,000 tonnes, over the coming months. Jacket installation activities are forecast to continue until December this year and resume in May 2018, weather permitting.

Steve Wilson, project manager, said: “As well as being large complex structures, these platforms will be the deepest water fixed foundations of any offshore wind farm.

“It has taken significant time and resource to get them ready for installation in the Moray Firth, so it’s a great achievement to have the first one in place.”

The jackets, which are up to 80m tall, have been fabricated at facilities in Fife, Newcastle, Belgium and Denmark.

Eighty-four jackets will support the Beatrice wind turbines, the first of which is due to be installed in summer 2018. The remaining two jackets will each support an offshore transformer.

The Beatrice project, which will be operated from a base in Wick and capable of providing enough electricity to power up to 450,000 homes, will be fully operational by the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, German giant Innogy has moved into the renewable energy generation sector in Ireland.

Innogy Renewables Ireland Ltd. has purchased the onshore 10.2 megawatts Dromadda Beg wind farm in County Kerry, where construction is due to start next month.

With an installed capacity of 3,000 megawatts, wind power accounted for 22 per cent of Ireland’s overall electricity production last year. Onshore wind farms in Ireland are typically compensated using Feed-in Tariff, which sets a minimum price for all electricity fed into the public grid.

Peter Terium, Innogy chief executive, said: “During our IPO last year we underlined our intention to increase our renewables-based generation portfolio by entering new markets. Ireland is an exciting market for us and I am very pleased to have made our first acquisition there, which is to be followed by others.”

15 Aug 2017

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