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Offshore: Offshore Digest

Britain and France

Warwick Energy, a UK offshore wind developer, has applied for government consent to build a 560 MW project at Dudgeon off the coast of Norfolk in eastern England. Up to 168 wind turbines are planned for a 35 square kilometre site, with the nearest machine to shore being located 32 kilometres north of the town of Cromer. Later this year, Warwick is to apply to the local planning authority for permits for the onshore cable route and substation. Subject to receiving consents, Warwick says the £1 billion project could begin generating in late 2013. Warwick developed the 90 MW Barrow offshore wind farm operating since 2006, and the 300 MW Thanet offshore project, currently in construction. Both use Vestas 3 MW turbines.

A 100 MW wind power project off the coast of France is under study by Neoen, the dedicated renewables arm of Direct Energie, a French producer and supplier of electricity. Neoen was set up last year and the project is in early-stage development, says Neoen's Philippe Dechelotte. The study is looking at an area between seven and ten kilometres off Boulogne-sur-Mer on the English Channel coast, but the exact location will only be decided following a public consultation process, which will take up to 12 months. Neoen is also looking at two other offshore sites, but declines to give further details. The company owns 16.5 MW of operating onshore wind capacity, which it bought last year, and has over 100 MW under development. It is also looking for opportunities to buy projects or project portfolios that have come on the market as a result of the global financial crisis. Its goal is to operate 300 MW of installed wind power by 2013.

Transformer on site

The German Bard Group's 400 MW Bard Offshore 1 wind farm, slated for commissioning this autumn, has reached a significant milestone, with the platform carrying the offshore transformer station for the project transported to the site in the North Sea in June. Two high-voltage direct-current cables will be laid this summer, says E.ON subsidiary Transpower Stromubertragung, which is responsible for the high voltage network. The wind farm's output is being sent to an onshore transformer station at Diele near Papenburg, some 200 kilometres away. The platform is 52 metres by 35 metres and stands 21 metres high. This is the first plant of its kind with these dimensions, says Constantijn Steinhusen, head of the project. Setting the 3200 tonne platform on the jacket foundation construction has required the use of the biggest floating crane in the world, known as Thialf.

Financial advice

Bard Holding has chosen a trio of banks to advise it on structuring the project finance for its 400 MW Veja Mate offshore wind project. The banks are Dexia Credit Local, Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, and Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank. The wind farm is slated for a site 90 kilometres north of the island of Borkum in the German exclusive economic zone of the North Sea. It does not yet have a construction permit.

Foundations laid

The tripod foundations for six Areva Multibrid 5 MW turbines have been laid at Germany's Alpha Ventus 60 MW offshore test station. The foundations, each weighing 700 tonnes, have been anchored on the seabed at the site 45 kilometres off the coast of the island of Borkum. The next step is construction of the individual sections of the towers. "This is the first time tripods have been used as foundations for offshore wind turbines. It is an international premiere," says Wilfried Hube, overall project leader of Alpha Ventus, which is owned by energy companies EWE and E.ON of Germany and Sweden's Vattenfall. Preparations for laying the other six foundations at the site, for Repower Systems 5 MW machines, have also begun, says the Alpha Ventus project company, Deutsche Offshore-Testfeld und Infrastruktur Gesellschaft.

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