London Array appoints Global Marine Systems for cable installation

UK: London Array, the world's first 1GW offshore wind farm, has handed Global Marine Systems (GMS) the cable installation contract for the project's first phase.

London Array: clay and sandy seabed among the cable
London Array: clay and sandy seabed among the cable

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The contract, which went to GMS’s Energy Division and partner Visser & Smit, involves the installation and burial of four offshore export cables and 175 array cables.

London Array is located in the Thames Estuary between two sandbanks, Kentish Knock and Long Sand. The 630MW first phase is due to be completed by March 2011.

Global Marine Energy director Ian Gaitch said there were a number of specific challenges involved in taking on a project of this size such as the number of contractors involved and varying conditions.

He said: "It is a vast area of seabed. The conditions can be difficult covering many square metres and we’ll find all types of seabed. One issue is London clay, which is very hard to bury cables in. In other areas there will be soft sand and uneven seabed.

"We have to be prepared for this. Most of London Array is in a depth of 15m but the actual site is in 4m to 5m and that brings in more problems because changing weather conditions can cause delay."

Speaking about the appointment, London Array project director Richard Rigg said:  "While cables are obviously not as visible as turbines, they provide the conduit between the turbines, offshore and onshore substations through which power is delivered to the National Grid transmission system.

"Global Marine has been selected for this crucial work, in conjunction with its project partner, Visser & Smit Marine Contracting, due to their extensive experience with major offshore wind projects and demonstrated ability to deliver a quality installation."

Earlier this month, London Array appointed MPI and A2SEA to supply vessels to install the foundations for the turbines. The first vessels will be on site in March 2011 with the first stage expected to be complete by 2012.


See the upcoming March issue of Windpower Monthly for more

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