Siemens keeps it British with substation contract

07 September 2010

Harland & Wolff has scooped a contract for two offshore substation structures for one of the largest wind farm developments in the UK. Siemens awarded the contract to the Belfast yard maintaining its record of using British yards for UK substations.

The substation structures form part of Siemens’ contract to design and build the onshore and offshore substations for the 576MW Gwynt y Môr (GYM) offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay.

Gwynt y Môr is one of the largest offshore wind power projects of its kind for the UK, representing a total investment of more than two billion Euros. Part of the Crown Estate’s Round 2 offshore wind development programme, GYM is a 576MW, 160 turbine UK Round 2 wind farm being constructed by a consortium of RWE Innogy, SWM - Municipal Utility Munich, Germany, and Siemens. The wind farm will be located 13km off the coast of North Wales and work will start towards the end of 2011 to erect the first foundations for a total of 160 wind turbines.

Siemens will supply the wind turbines, which will be connected via 33kV array cables to two new offshore substations. Onboard the H&W built platforms Siemens’ equipment will transform the power from 33kV up to 132kV for transmission back to a new onshore substation at St Asaph also to be built by Siemens.

John Willcock, director of Projects at Manchester based Siemens Transmission and Distribution Ltd said: "This is the first time we have awarded a contract to H&W. They will be using some design concepts from shipbuilding which are different from our other offshore substation platforms to date. We were impressed by the pro-active way they went about convincing us and our customer RWE Innogy of the merits of their concept."

Robert Cooper, chief executive officer at H&W added: “We are already a recognised renewables logistics base and prototype builder and are delighted to have been awarded this contract, demonstrating our continuing development as part of the UK supply chain for marine renewable energy. Our project goals are to make the design and build process seamless for Siemens and to ultimately provide the operator, RWE Innogy, with a robust and durable offshore platform, built on time and to budget.”

The contract is another step in developing the UK’s supply chain for offshore wind power. Siemens has used British yards for all six of its existing offshore substations: Thanet (300MW), Greater Gabbard (500MW), London Array (630MW), Lincs (270MW). Greater Gabbard and London Array, each have two offshore substations. Willcock comments: “We are delighted to continue this trend with further offshore wind jobs for another UK yard. We expect that the massive expansion of offshore wind in the UK will keep H&W and all the other fabricators very busy in coming years.”
In its first phase of expansion, GYM wind farm is planned to generate electricity as early as 2013. The project is expected to be completed in 2014. From then onwards it is forecast to generate around 1,950 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, enough to supply around 400,000 British households. The site is in a favourable location. Liverpool Bay in North Wales is characterised by comparatively shallow water and very high wind speeds.

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