DONG Energy and ScottishPower Renewables joined forces to develop the West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. The wind farm consists of 108 wind generating turbines connected to an offshore substation. From the offshore substation, two export cables - with a total length of approx. 41 km each – were installed and connected to a newly built onshore substation near Heysham, UK in order to feed the wind power generated offshore into the National Grid. A significant contribution is now being made to meeting the aims of the UK government in reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.
VBMS was awarded the contract for the installation of the two export cables. These cables have a rating of 155 kV and a total length of approx. 41 km each. Each cable was delivered in 2 sections. This was to enable installation of the beach sections in one season, owing to the environmental restrictions on access to the foreshore during the winter months (September to March). This created an initial load-out and installation of 91 km for each cable, followed by the remaining 31 km per cable.
Offshore jointing of the cables was the responsibility of the cable supplier, NKT, but VBMS prepared the cables and provided a stable working platform. The overboarding and post-lay burial were also included in the scope of work.
The project was carried out between March 2013 and October 2013. An additional challenge was the long shore approach, which had to be carried out in dry conditions. This involved the Stemat Spirit beaching approx. 2.5 km offshore and the cable pull over the "Heysham" rollers.
The project team worked in close collaboration with the client developing the procedures so as to ensure that this challenging project could be executed to the high standards to which clients of VBMS are accustomed.
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