Windfarm continues to take shape as blades are fitted to turbines

Posted On 15 Mar 2017 at 11:59 am

This week marks the installation of the first of 116 wind turbines at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, with the installations set to continue throughout 2017.

The turbines are being installed by a jack up vessel, the MPI Discovery, which will transport the components for eight turbines in each trip from Esbjerg in Denmark to the Rampion site, off the Sussex coast. Weather dependent, each turbine will take around 24 hours to install from initial positioning at each turbine location and jacking of the vessel.

Carrying eight 80 metre towers, eight nacelles and 24 turbine blades, the vessel will install each turbine in turn. First each tower, weighing approximately 200 tonnes, is lifted, positioned and bolted onto each turbine foundation. Next the nacelle, which houses the generator and gearbox, is lifted and fitted onto the tower, and finally the three blades, each measuring 55m in length, are hoisted and connected one at a time. A second vessel, the MPI Adventure, will support the installation from June onwards.

Chris Tomlinson, Development and Stakeholder Manager for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said: “After seven years of planning, development and initial construction, we are especially proud to have reached this major milestone, which will see the Rampion project really begin to take shape. The first turbine is a powerful symbol of the engineering achievement that Rampion and other offshore wind farms represent.

“Since we completed the foundation installation in November, our multi-skilled teams have continued to install the onshore and offshore electrical infrastructure, and have made final preparations for the turbine construction. Over the coming months the 116 turbines will gradually be installed as we work towards the first generation of electricity later in the year.”

During spring, offshore cabling work will continue. An elevated excavator will be working from Lancing Beach over an estimated eight week period, to backfill the cable duct trenches that were dug along the seabed last year, for the cable installation. The vehicle will work in calm conditions around the changing tide at a water depth of up to three meters. The offshore substation that transforms the electricity up to 150 kilovolts before transporting it to shore, is also due to be lifted into position on its foundation later in the spring.
Onshore construction of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) base at Newhaven Port will commence in March. The O&M base will include offices and warehousing and will employ up to 60 full time, permanent staff and store spare parts and tools to support the maintenance of the turbines.
 The 400MW project being built 13km off the Sussex coast by E.ON, the UK Green Investment Bank plc and Canadian energy company Enbridge, will, when complete provide enough electricity to supply almost 347,000 homes (1) a year, equivalent to around half the homes in Sussex. The project is due to be completed and fully operational in 2018.

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  1. Charlie Bones Reply

    In spite of the disruption to horizon sea views, the ripping up of the sea bed and the downs and the tendering to foreign companies I am a fan of sustainable energy projects like this. However we shall need to build 2 of these wind farms of this size every 3 years at the very least just to keep up with the unsustainable growth of greenfield housing developments, 200,000 built in 2016 up from 140 k in 2015. In fact we have signed up to an international CO2 reduction agreement (name escapes me) so more renewable energy projects are needed than this. In other words in 4 years time the UK would of built the equivalent of the number of houses in Sussex and should of built the 5 of these wind farms or similar. Completely unsustainable and in 50 years time future inhabitants of these islands will be cursing us for a country immersed in a sea of housing,solar panels and wind turbines.

    • Robin Hislop Reply

      In the decades after WWII till the 1970s we built 300,000 homes a year. Now we barely manage 200,000, despite a larger population. It’s estimated we need 250,000 per year just to meet demand. Some years we build half that. No wonder prices are through the roof.

      Only 7.5% of UK land mass is built on, and that includes parks and gardens! There’s plenty of space to build, we just need to decide to do it. Canada has half the population of the UK, yet builds twice as many houses per year.

  2. Marc Reply

    Charlie Bones, what is your alternative. Sustainable new energy sources are required to replace our carbon dependency. It is regrettable that the favoured short term return on investment model in the UK private sector and a lacking of political direction dictates that we require foreign investment to pull of these expensive long term investment initiatives. Whilst there is visual impact and some sea and landscape disruption, it is small in comparison to damage from 25-50 years of emissions from a carbon fuel burning plant of this capacity. Extracting the fuel and transporting it also adds to pollution levels. Further house building is also a requirement to unburden the future generations from ever increasing housing costs, stifling economic growth. A better defined policy by the government of the day to plan both housing and energy planning is long overdue. We should demand debate and a defined policy on these issues from our politicians.

  3. Anne Williams Reply

    I wonder if this will bring my energy bills down. I doubt it.As I am disabled and trying to live on £102 a week and my energy bills are over £1200 a year I somehow think sustainable energy will still be unsustainable for me

    • Robin Hislop Reply

      It sounds like you need to switch energy suppliers Anne. My household of 8 (!) pays £70 a month energy bills. And the house is 1920s with single glazing.

      • Bradley Wiggins Reply

        Which energy supplier Robin Hislop?

      • rex lombardo Reply

        Power to the people

        Or not if you had your way!

  4. Barney Reply

    Just a few decades ago, the emphasis was on using less energy, but that would mean less profit, so that policy was soon reversed.

    As just one example, is it still possible to buy dynamos for cycles? I doubt it. The issue of reducing light levels as a cyclist slows down could easily be overcome by using the dynamo to charge a battery, but no, that would eat into the profits of the manufacturers of disposable batteries.

    The emphasis nowadays is on consume, consume, consume, and to hell with the consequences.

    When in the Brighton area, I look out to sea, and all I see are propellers on sticks that will soon be obsolete, but will be a danger to shipping for centuries to come.

    I look along the beach, and there’s a giant glass doughnut on a stick where the once beautiful West Pier is now reduced to a rusting skeleton.

    Thatcher said “greed is good”, but few would agree, apart from the greedy who make money out of destroying our heritage.

    It’s a pity We, The People have so little power nowadays, but nothing will change while those useless eaters, politicians and bankers, regard us as cattle at best.

  5. John WIlson Reply

    I absolutely hate these monstrous wind turbines.You have all been hoodwinked.We are subsidising the foreign owners with billions and for what .Ugly turbines that will breakdown if it’s too windy,will become scrap in 10-20 years time.WIll not reduce our energy bills.It was George Osbourne’s gift to the Green voters hoping that they will vote Tory because they are now pretending to be so green.Non believer and proud of it.Check out DAVID BELLAMY Scientist who told the truth and because of that wasn’t invited to present anymore TV programmes.

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