First Offshore Wind Farm By a Spanish Company

IBERDROLA has achieved another international milestone. Last October 2014 it became the first Spanish company to commission an offshore wind farm:  West of Duddon Sands (WoDS).

Developed by IBERDROLA via its British subsidiary ScottishPower Renewables and in a consortium with Danish firm Dong Energy, this wind farm required a €2 billion investment and was inaugurated two months in advance of the scheduled date.

With an installed capacity of 389 megawatts (MW), IBERDROLA’s offshore wind farm is capable of producing enough energy to meet the electricity needs of some 280,000 British homes.

It is equipped with 108 turbines with a unit capacity of 3.6 MW. Over 200 km of cables had to be installed under the sea in order to commission the wind farm. Located 20 km off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness in North West England, WoDS covers an area of about 67 km2.

West of Duddon Sands is at the forefront of the wind power sector in reducing the cost of this technology.   The new terminal built at the port of Belfast, specially designed for the storage and assembly of foundations and wind turbines, was a crucial factor.

Two state-of-the-art ships were used for the installation work at sea (Pacific Orca and Sea Installer). These vessels were built expressly for this type of offshore facilities and their stability enabled the construction of the wind farm during a harsh winter with major storms and strong winds.

The energy produced by the wind turbines is collected in an offshore substation, especially designed by IBERDROLA to withstand the harsh weather conditions in the area.  The voltage is raised at this offshore substation and exported via two undersea cables to the Heysham substation on land, which is the point of connection to the UK grid.

The operation and maintenance centre (also new-build) is located at the port of Barrow-in-Furness. It will provide employment to more than 40 highly qualified operators for at least 20 years.

The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey; the Chairman of IBERDROLA, Ignacio Galán, and the Vice-Chairman of Dong Energy, Samuel Leupold, chaired the inauguration of the wind farm in October.   During this event, Mr. Galán highlighted that this infrastructure “has successfully overcome several technological challenges, demonstrating the United Kingdom’s ability to build major renewable energy projects, thanks to its highly-qualified workforce and excellent engineering and to the advanced development of its chain of supply, logistics and facilities”.