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First offshore gravity-based foundation installed

gravity base foundations towed out to sea

Dutch firms Royal Bam Group and Strukton have helped EDF Energy install the first of five mammoth gravity-based foundations for an offshore wind farm in British waters.

The energy giant said the project – at the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator scheme, near the coast of Northumberland – was the first time the ‘float and submerge’ method had been used in the offshore wind sector.

The Blyth development includes five wind turbines with a total generating capacity of 41.5MW – enough to power about 34,000 homes.

Royal Bam designed the concrete and steel gravity-based foundations and built them in a dry dock.

The 15,000-tonne, 60m-high foundations are then floated down river to the Port of Tyne where extra ballast is added, before they are towed by tug vessels to the site offshore where Strukton uses a specialist vessel to pump sea water into the foundations to lower them to the prepared sea bed.

Once the foundations are in the right place, the water ballast is replaced with sand ballast to enable the foundation to rest securely on the sea bed and support the installation of wind turbines.

EDF Energy Renewables chief executive Matthieu Hue said: “We are delighted to have reached another successful milestone in this ground breaking project.” ENDS

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