Milestone moment as the first foundation is installed at Race Bank offshore wind farm

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 30 Jun 2016

AND they’re off! 

Construction is underway at the Race Bank wind farm array, with the first of 91 monopile foundations now secure in the seabed, in preparation to support world-leading turbines fitted with Humber-built blades.

At 580MW, the £2 billion Dong Energy development off the Lincolnshire coast will have more than twice the capacity of the current largest farm served out of Grimsby, bringing around 100 more direct jobs when completed. 

For now a co-ordinating team of more than 30 is working out of Port of Grimsby East, with scores of contractors in the field supported by staff in Denmark and London.

Blades will soon be under construction in Siemens’ new Hull facility, which opens in September.

Boulder and ordnance removal has already been carried out on the cable route and across the array location, with the laying of the export cable also underway, from Walpole, southern Lincolnshire and out through The Wash.

Construction project manager Jason Ledden said: “The successful installation of the first monopile on the Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm site is testament to the team’s commitment, passion and professionalism.

“The Race Bank team’s mantra is ‘together we build’ and this milestone achievement reflects that.” 

TEAM EFFORT: Members of the construction management team for Dong Energy's Race Bank, with construction project manager, Jason Ledden, right, at the base on Port of Grimsby East.

Jack-up vessel Innovation, with a fresh lick of paint since completing Westermost Rough, is back on the job, with specialist contractor GeoSea loading up from Poland and Germany to install first the monopiles, and subsequently the bright yellow transition pieces that emerge from sea-level and form the base for the turbine tower.

With 90 more to follow the first, together with two substations, the construction phase continues through 2016 and into 2017, with hand-over to the operating team anticipated in 2018.

At 580MW, the sixth offshore wind farm controlled from Grimsby will take the town’s contribution to offshore wind electricity supply past the 1GW mark.

Dong has already told how up to 500 long term operations and maintenance roles will be created in the area by 2020, as Race Bank and then Hornsea join the existing Westermost Rough offshore wind farm in a £6 billion investment in the Humber.

By the end of the decade it is anticipated that electricity needs of more than 1.5 million homes will be met.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Race Bank offshore wind farm.

Race Bank is a significant scaling up of Westermost Rough, the offshore wind farm featuring the world's first commercial deployment of the Siemens 6MW turbine, the largest ever operated. Sitting off the East Yorkshire coast, just north of Humber Gateway, it features 35 turbines and was fully commissioned last summer. At a celebration event to mark the handover to operations and maintenance at a purpose-built £3.7 million base on the town's Royal Dock, Dong Energy UK chairman Brent Cheshire announced Race Bank would be built and operated from Grimsby. 

Mr Ledden has stepped up from a deputy role on Westermost Rough to lead the build out of Race Bank.

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