Due to the sheer size of Dogger Bank, the wind turbines project has been split into four stages. Each stage, in turn, will proceed in three phases of development and construction. The exact location of the first stage in the southern section of the sandbank has now been announced.
It will be located between 75 and 110 miles (between 125 and 180 km) off the Yorkshire coast, covering some 770 square miles (2,000 square km), where the water is only about 100 feet (30 metres) deep. Within this space alone wind turbines will be generating an installed output of up to 1,400 megawatts.
“The offshore wind energy project Dogger Bank is one of the biggest energy projects in the world – similar to the Three Gorges Dam in China or the Desertec Project in northern Africa. It somehow represents the aim which the entire offshore wind industry has been heading for. With each project that is successfully developed and set up over the next few years we’ll be getting closer to this aim,” said Prof. Martin Skiba, Head of Offshore Wind at RWE Innogy.
In the future the Dogger Bank Wind Power Station might cover about ten per cent of the electric power demand in the UK.
Now that the first stage has been identified, we are going to see the actual development work in the form of wide-ranging environmental studies. Research will focus, for instance, on bird migration routes, on the structure of the seabed and on the animal and plant life in this area.
As well as setting up the actual wind turbines, the planning also covers the construction of substations at sea and on land and the laying of submarine high-voltage cables that will take the electric power from the sea to the end user on land. For the first construction phase of the Dogger Bank wind power plant, a grid connection point will be set up at the existing substation in Cottingham, Yorkshire.
The Dogger Bank zone is seen as having a strategic position between the UK, Norway and continental Europe and has therefore been identified by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) as a central grid node in the organisation’s plans for an inter-European electric power grid. This is where wind power fluctuations might one day be balanced out by storable energy from Norwegian hydropower plants and then be available 24/7 for transportation as base load to central consumer areas in Europe.
The Dogger Bank zone is being developed by the Forewind Consortium which comprises RWE Innogy, Scottish & Southern Energy (SEE) and the Norwegian energy utilities Statoil and Statkraft. In January this year they were the partners that received the relevant UK government contracts for the development of the Dogger Bank project in the third round of tenders.
RWE Innogy already runs two offshore wind farms in the UK and is currently setting up two more, together with partners: Gwynt y Môr (576 MW) and Greater Gabbard (504 MW).