VITAL components in the project to build one of Britain’s biggest off-shore wind farms set off for the Welsh coast from Belfast yesterday as Harland and Wolff completed its latest renewable energy contract.
The firm handed over two substations constructed for international firm Siemens for use in its flagship offshore wind farm, Gwynt y Môr, 10 miles offshore in Liverpool Bay.
Understood to be worth around £20 together, the first substation left the yard yesterday evening following a barge loading and tugging operation which commenced on Friday, 10.
When it reaches its destination off the coast of North Wales today it will be craned onto a pre-installed jacket foundation. The second unit will follow with the fortnight and both will be connected to the to the array of 160 Siemens wind turbine generators and to the shore.
The role of the substations is to take the wind-generated energy will be transformed to an even higher voltage (132,000 Volts) for efficient transmission back to a new onshore substation at St Asaph in North Wales, which is also being built by Siemens.
The field is expected to be operational and exporting power to the grid in 2013.
The contract to construct the offshore substations was awarded to H&W in July 2010 and since then the two companies have worked closely to develop the two platforms, which were built side by side in H&W’s facility in Belfast.
Sales manager at H&W, David McVeigh, said: ”It is great to see these major projects designed and built in the UK.
“These projects utilise a vast range of UK products, equipment, services and personnel. The substations are a shining example of British companies working together to achieve great things.”
This month also saw the commencement of the laying of foundations and subsea cables for the first of the 160 wind turbines, which will make up the 576MW offshore wind farm. When completed the wind farm will generate green energy for almost a third of the total of homes in Wales.
Commenting on this latest milestone, John Willcock, managing director of Siemens Energy Transmission UK said:
“The Gwynt y Môr project is a very key project for the UK.
“The substations have been designed, engineered and built here, which is a huge boost to UK manufacturing and local job creation. It is also a great demonstration of the ongoing vibrancy of the renewables sector and its potential for the UK economy. We are hugely proud to have achieved this from our base in Manchester working together with RWE npower renewables in Wales and Harland and Wolff in Northern Ireland.”
Gwynt y Môr’s construction so far has already supported hundreds of design, engineering and construction jobs in Wales, the North West and Northern Ireland, and generated over £300 million for the UK economy.
Siemens is creating many new green engineering roles in Manchester and H&W have created many highly skilled engineering jobs during the substations project, On completion, at least another 100 long term, skilled engineering jobs will be created at RWE npower renewables operations and maintenance base at the Port of Mostyn, North Wales.
RWE npower renewables Gwynt y Môr project director, Toby Edmonds said: “This latest milestone is fantastic news for the project.
“Last week we installed the first wind turbine foundation and the first export cable. This week brings the delivery of the first of two offshore substations. It is being transported directly to its installation site more than 10 miles off the coast where it will be lifted onto of the jacket foundation structure by the heavy lift vessel, Stanislav Yudin.”
Generating 576MW, Gwynt y Môr will be one of the largest offshore wind farms currently in construction . Gwynt y Môr represents a total investment of more than EURO2 billion, shared between RWE npower renewables’ parent company RWE Innogy (60 per cent); Stadtwerke München GmbH, Munich’s municipal utilities company (30 per cent) and Siemens(10 per cent).