This 714 megawatt wind energy megacomplex will be fully operational by mid 2020. Iberdrola has begun the final phase of construction of the East Anglia One offshore wind farm, located in English waters of the North Sea, with the installation since this weekend of the first units of the total of 102 wind turbines of 7 megawatts (MW) supplied by Siemens Gamesa.
This was explained by the director of the offshore wind energy project of Iberdrola in Saint Brieuc (France) and one of the pioneers in the promotion of this type of installations in the company, Rafael Vara, during a visit to the works of East Anglia, the largest initiative of a Spanish company in the history of renewables, with a record investment of more than 2,500 million pounds (about 2,800 million euros).
With an estimated power of 714 MW, East Anglia One is located about 50 kilometers off the coast of Suffolk (United Kingdom) and covers an area of ??300 square kilometers, which is equivalent to 40,000 football fields. In fact, this park will become, when fully operational by mid-2020, the second largest offshore wind farm in the world and generate clean energy to supply more than 630,000 British homes.
Vara indicated that the installation process of the wind turbines will be carried out at a rate of four every 10 days, through boat trips, which will allow this process to be completed in April 2020. Once they are installed, the wind turbines will start to produce electricity.
Iberdrola has already installed all the piles (the bottom of the foundations that are placed on the sea floor to form a secure base) of this infrastructure and a large part of the jackets (platform where the wind turbines are installed) and has the substation marina Andalucía II in the final phase of installation and commissioning.
The construction of this great initiative is boosting the offshore wind industry in Europe, giving employment to more than 1,300 people in several countries and being key for several sectors, such as the naval sector. In Spain, Iberdrola, in addition to Siemens Gamesa, has had the participation of local companies such as Navantia or Windar.
Siemens Gamesa is building the 306 blades for the wind turbines at its Green Port Hull facilities, for which it is requiring a team of 850 people. They are made of fiberglass and measure 75 meters long, similar to the wingspan of the giant Airbus A380 aircraft.
The public shipyard was in charge of the construction of the substation, the ‘Andalucía II’, manufactured by Navantia in Puerto Real (Cádiz). It is the largest marine substation in alternating current built in the world, and includes design innovations developed by Iberdrola to make it more compact, reducing its weight to 3,900 tons, which facilitates its installation to ships.
The substation began its journey from Puerto Real to English waters in August 2018, where it was installed at the end of that month, and is being activated at this time.
In addition, of the 102 jacket-type foundations, Navantia manufactured 42 in Fene (Spain) and Windar built the piles in Avilés (Asturias). The other 60 foundations were manufactured by Lamprell in the United Arab Emirates and Harland & Wolff in Belfast.
The installation of the foundations of the project has been carried out from the Dutch port of Vlissingen, while the components of the wind turbines are being previously assembled in the British port of Great Yarmouth.
On the other hand, the Port of Lowestoft will be the base of the operation and maintenance center during the more than 30 years of operational life expected for East Anglia One. When the wind farm comes into operation, more than 100 people will be employed full time in the port.
This new offshore wind farm is part of an even more ambitious project. Iberdrola, through its British subsidiary ScottishPower Renewables, is also developing three other wind farms in the vicinity of East Anglia One, which are in various stages of progress: East Anglia ONE North (up to 800 MW), East Anglia TWO (with a capacity of up to 900 MW) and East Anglia THREE (with a capacity of up to 1,200 MW).
BET FOR THE MARINE WIND POWER
Currently, Iberdrola already has two facilities in operation: on the one hand, the West of Duddon Sands park. Launched in 2014 in the North Sea, it became the first plant of its kind to be promoted by a Spanish company. On the other hand, the Wikinger park, in German waters of the Baltic Sea and in operation since December 2017.
But Iberdrola’s pioneering and determined commitment to offshore wind generation will be consolidated in the coming years, thanks to a portfolio of projects using this technology that reaches 12.4 gigawatts (GW).