Foundations installation starts on world’s largest offshore wind farm


United Kingdom – SSE Renewables and Equinor have started laying the foundations for the Dogger Bank offshore wind project off the north-east coast of the United Kingdom.

The first foundations for Dogger Bank’s 277 turbines were put in place, bringing the largest offshore wind farm in the world one step closer to completion. The joint venture between SSE Renewables (40 percent), Equinor (40 percent), and Eni Plenitude (20 percent) will produce 3.6 GW of clean, green energy when it is finished, more than 130 km off the North East coast of England. This amount of energy is enough to power 6 million UK homes.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm’s lead operator for development and construction is SSE Renewables, and Equinor will assume that role once construction is complete and the wind farm is operational for what is anticipated to be 35 years.

The installation, which consists of three offshore wind farm locations in the North Sea, saw the first monopile and transition piece installed at Dogger Bank A. The foundations, which were created by UK-based Wood Thilsted, can be up to 72m long and weigh 1057 tonnes on average. Seaway is in charge of the installation work with support from DEME. The revolutionary Haliade-X turbines from GE Renewable Energy, which will supply the energy, will be installed starting in the spring of 2023.

Handling strong waves

The supporting elements of the transition pieces are made of steel that was produced by Tata Steel in Wales and processed in Corby and Hartlepool. South Tyneside-based Metec and Rochdale-based Granada Material Handling also received contracts from Smulders to help support this innovative project.

The foundations, which can be installed in water up to 32 meters deep and 130 kilometers from shore, have been designed to handle the North Sea’s strong waves. They will serve as a solid and stable base for the size of the ground-breaking Haliade-X turbines from GE Renewable Energy.

A total of 277 monopiles and transition pieces will be loaded onto installation vessels in Rotterdam over the course of the three-year installation program for the three phases of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm before being transported out to the offshore wind farm site deep in the North Sea.

The up to 72m-long monopiles are placed using cutting-edge positioning technology, then hammered into place and fastened with enormous bolts. All 190 monopiles and transition pieces for the Dogger Bank A and B phases of the wind farm were manufactured by the consortium Sif and Smulders, and a contract for the remaining 87 monopiles and transition pieces for the Dogger Bank C phase was awarded to the consortium in 2021.