Work is about to start off the coast of Brighton and Hove to prepare the seabed for the first foundations for the Rampion wind farm.
Eon, the power company behind the project, said: “Work will begin this week at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, in readiness for the first foundation installation in January.
“This will include clearing boulders on the seabed along the cable route and around each of the 116 foundation positions to allow safe and effective installation.”
Chris Tomlinson, Eon’s development manager for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said: “After five years in development, following successful consultation, consent and contracting, we’re delighted to be able to confirm that work will commence this week to prepare the seabed for turbine installation.
“Assessment of the number of boulders is still under way but is likely to be in the thousands and up to six vessels will be on site to undertake the work over the next many months.
“Great efforts will be made to replicate the seabed as it is now and all boulders moved will be weighed and the new position recorded.
“Details of the new positions of the boulders will be made freely available to sea users. We will continue to issue Notices to Mariners to keep sea users informed of these works.”
This coincides with work commencing onshore, Eon said, with the first of 12 stages of the onshore project starting earlier this month to the south of Upper Brighton Road, Worthing.
Access points will be constructed first to allow construction of a haul road along the cable route.
This will be followed by trenching works to lay the ducting for the cables, and finally, the reinstatement of the ground.
Work will start on building the onshore substation in Twineham towards the end of the month.
Mr Tomlinson said: “Throughout the Rampion project’s progress we’ve worked hard to keep the local community informed of our activities.
“And over the last three months community events have been held at locations along the cable route in Lancing, Steyning, Henfield and Twineham, where we were pleased to be able to update over 500 local people of our construction plans.”
When the turbines are fully complete in early 2018 the electricity cables will come ashore at the Brooklands Pleasure Park in Worthing.
They will transport power along more than 16 miles of underground onshore cable to the new substation at Twineham where it will be connected to the grid.
During the planned three-year offshore construction period it is estimated that about 250 to 300 jobs will be created.
A workforce of up to 100 will be employed for the onshore cable route and about 40 to 60 more people at the onshore substation during construction.
These will be advertised locally and will include two apprenticeship roles a year for at least three years, Eon said.
Approval has also been received from Lewes District Council Planning Committee for the wind farm’s operations and maintenance base at Newhaven Port.
The design is expected to be finalised over the winter, with construction planned to start next year.
The 400MW 116-turbine project should provide enough electricity to supply the equivalent of about 300,000 homes cut C02 emissions by up to 600,000 tonnes a year.
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