The 714 MW ‘East Anglia One’ offshore wind farm recently concluded its final commissioning, which means that all 102 7MW Siemens Gamesa turbines are now operational.
This joint project by Scottish Power Renewables and the Macquarie Green Investment Group – which cost around £2.5 billion – is the first of four wind farms that the two firms are set to develop in the region.
Site investigations are also underway, which will see the deployment of the first group of contractors and personnel on the project.
The East Anglia One final phase has passed the Operational Conditions Precedent (or ‘OCP’), and is already receiving payments through the Contract for Difference (CfD). The project officially began generating electricity under this scheme on the 30th of May.
The first few 7MW Siemens Gamesa turbines had already been generating electricity for the Burstall onshore substation since September 2019.
The project passed the initial CfD milestone in February 2020, and then in April the rest of the 102 turbines were installed.
The offshore wind farm, with a total capacity of 714 MW, will meet the electricity demands of more than 630,000 homes for a year.
According to Scottish Renewables, about 20% of this £2.5 billion venture, including installation and connection work, was completed during the pandemic-induced lockdown.
The completion of the project involved stricter measures to ensure that the social distancing guidelines are followed at all times. Daily work protocols have changed, including the use of smaller vessels, organising crew households who worked and lived together at the same time, implementing new welfare procedures and limiting crew changes.
Scottish Renewables East Anglia One project director Charlie Jordan said that the final commissioning of the project was a milestone for the company and its partners, and as well as other stakeholders. He highlighted the project’s role in contributing to the UK’s efforts for a green economic recovery following the COVID-19 crisis.
Jordan also praised the tenacity and determination of the project teams who worked despite the unprecedented pandemic. He expressed gratitude towards the Green Investment Group, whom they worked alongside for the first time.
Senior project manager for Siemens Gamesa East Anglia One, Andrew Elmes, said that the team managed to adapt well to new safety issues despite the unforeseen pandemic. The new measures involved accommodation, complete vessel and crew reorganisations, social distancing, quarantine, and onsite testing.
The fast-track planning of East Anglia Hub, which includes site investigation, is underway as contractors and personnel are being deployed across project areas. This specific part of the project is a £6 billion venture, and construction is set to begin in 2022.
The East Anglia Hub contract has been awarded to Fugro, a company specialising in geo-data. This part of the project will supply about 10% of the UK’s 30GW target for offshore wind farm generation by 2030.
Fugro will be overseeing site investigations and geophysical surveys at the East Anglia Hub sites. It will also undertake the export of cable corridors for this year and the next.
The work is slowly starting to come together, beginning with site characterisation surveys on both East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two, that will be the base model for the preliminary designs and development.
The East Anglia Hub will include 263 wind turbines and Fugro will be performing turbine-specific site investigations across the three locations involved in the project within the next year.
Planning consent has already been secured for East Anglia Three, which will have an initial power generation capacity of about 1.4GW. Planning applications for turbines that will add the other 1.7GW of the target have also been submitted, and are set to be divided between East Anglia Two and East Anglia One North.
Ross Ovens, East Anglia Hub Project Director, stated that Fugro’s data would be the basis for site development plans. At the same time, it will also keep the project on track to meet the UK’s carbon emission targets. He also mentioned that the project would bring in opportunities for job creation and long-term investment, for both the national and local economies.