Contractors working for Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables have completed the installation of two of the UK’s most advanced weather monitoring stations for the 7200MW East Anglia Offshore Wind Zone off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.
The contracts for the £17 million weather monitoring project were overseen by Aberdeen based Wood Group, with Steel Engineering of Renfrewshire carrying out the key manufacturing subcontract.
East Anglia Offshore Wind (EAOW) is a 50-50 joint venture between ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall. The project has the potential to deliver 7200MW of installed capacity, which is capable of generating enough clean green energy to power the equivalent of around 5 million homes annually and will be one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects.
The offshore weather monitoring stations will start providing essential data from September and cover an area bigger than Norfolk. The data will inform key technical and engineering decisions for the wind farm. The weather stations are amongst the most technically advanced in the UK and will measure wind speed and direction in the area as well as temperature and air pressure.
The structures consist of a monopile foundation, which contains more than 600 tonnes of steel, and a tubular steel lattice tower. One is located in the North of the East Anglia development zone and one in the South. The tips of each mast reach 100m above sea level, to ensure the accurate monitoring of weather conditions at the approximate height of an offshore wind turbine.
Andy Paine, East Anglia Programme Director, said: “We have been developing our plans for East Anglia Offshore Wind Zone for more than two years. In this time we have awarded more than £50 million worth of contracts to UK businesses and have supported hundreds of jobs – so it is a great achievement to now see the first physical structures being installed offshore.
“The data we receive from the weather masts will provide detailed information that will help us to design the layout of our future projects. It is a hugely significant milestone in any offshore wind farm development, and we are delighted that the weather masts are now installed.”
EAOW officially submitted a planning application for the first of six potential projects within the East Anglia Zone in December last year. The 1,200MW East Anglia ONE project will require up to 325 wind turbines and covers an area of 300km2 in the southern North Sea. The first project alone will be able to power the equivalent annual electricity demand of around 770,000 UK homes.
Initial survey work is also continuing for the second and third proposed projects, with a further combined capacity of 2,400 MW.
Press Release, August 22, 2013