EDF Energy Renewables starts work on the Blyth offshore wind farm

Construction work for the project has begun onshore and offshore work will start in 2017 to install five turbines of 41.5MW in capacity. The turbines, will provide enough low carbon electricity to power 33 000 homes. The project has permission for a maximum total generating capacity of almost 100 MW.

The power generated by the wind farm will be supplied to an electricity substation at Blyth which will be built by Balfour Beatty, for transmission to the National Grid. At its peak there will be around 200 people working on the project.

Wholly owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles, the Blyth Offshore wind project will be built by EDF Energy Renewables, a 50-50 UK joint venture between EDF Energies Nouvelles and EDF Energy. Working with their suppliers, it plans to complete construction of the first five turbines in 2017.

The project will use the latest generation of offshore wind turbines manufactured and installed by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind and this will be the first project to use 66Kv cable technology which will be installed by VMBS who specialise in subsea power cable installation. The standard voltage for cables has been 33Kv until now but with turbines growing in power a higher specification has been developed.

The concrete gravity base foundations are the first of their kind to be built in the world and the new installation method of ‘float and sink’ will be used for the project. This is the first time this method has been used for wind turbines. The foundations will be designed and built by Royal BAM Group in the Neptune dry dock on the Tyne and will then be floated and sunk in position using tugs.

Matthieu Hue, EDF Energy Renewables CEO, said: “As a company, we already have a strong presence in the North East, in low carbon electricity generation and serving customers including our first offshore wind farm at Teesside so we’re pleased to be able to add another project to our portfolio in the region.

“We are delighted that the gravity based foundations will be made in Newcastle. The Port of Blyth will be used for operations and maintenance and the blades for the turbines will be made on the Isle of Wight.”