Dogger Bank met mast installation begins

First Universal Foundation to be in place by week's end

The first of two foundations that will house meteorological monitoring equipment within the Dogger Bank offshore wind zone is expected to be installed on Thursday at a location about 125km from shore, Windpower Offshore understands. The second foundation is likely to be placed into position next week.

Two innovative suction bucket-style foundations, designed by Universal Foundation and made by Belfast’s Harland & Wolff, were loaded onto Fred Olsen’s new jack-up Brave Tern last week. The vessel is currently in the port of Amsterdam, from which it will sail to Dogger Bank.

A window of calm weather is on the horizon later this week and it is hoped that the first of the two foundations will be installed on 24 January, explained Universal Foundation’s technology director, Søren Nielsen, speaking with Windpower Offshore. The second foundation will hopefully installed next week, he added.

In addition to supplying the installation vessel, Fred Olsen owns a stake in both Universal Foundation and Harland & Wolff. The UK’s Carbon Trust has facilitated the use of the innovative foundation in UK waters via its offshore wind accelerator programme.

Universal Foundation’s design aims to be more cost-effective than conventional monopile foundations as well as easier to install, and has been deployed successfully at the Danish Horns Rev 2 offshore wind farm.

"This is certainly a momentous occasion for us," said Lee Clarke, project director for the Forewind consortium that is developing the challenging Dogger Bank zone. "The foundations will be the first structure put in place at the Dogger Bank site. It's a sign that this project is really beginning to take shape." The Forewind consortium is owned jointly by Statoil, Statkraft, RWE and SSE.

A third Universal Foundation is due to be installed within the Firth of Forth zone. SSE and Fluor are jointly developing Firth of Forth, having submitted a consent application for two wind farms with capacities of 525MW each last autumn.