Dogger Bank Wind Farm, a joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor, and Vårgrønn, has achieved a significant milestone with the installation of the first unmanned high voltage direct current (HVDC) offshore substation at the Dogger Bank offshore wind project site off the UK coast. This marks the first of three platforms supplied by Aibel to be installed at Dogger Bank, which is being constructed in three 1.2GW phases known as A, B, and C.
The Dogger Bank A platform is an engineering marvel, measuring 65 metres by 36 metres across and 39 metres high. It sits on a four-legged steel jacket foundation structure which is fixed to the seabed, at a water depth of around 28 metres. This platform installation, delivered by principal contractor Saipem, is located approximately 146km from the nearest point of land at Flamborough Head, near Bridlington in East Yorkshire.
The offshore platform will be operated from shore and accessed only by a service operations vessel. It will receive 1.2GW of AC power from Dogger Bank A's 95 offshore wind turbines and convert it to DC, which will then be sent ashore to an onshore converter station near Beverley in East Yorkshire.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be the first offshore wind project in the UK to use Hitachi Energy's latest generation HVDC converter technology. This technology will ensure that the electricity produced is transmitted efficiently over long distances while minimizing losses. The project will be capable of generating 3.6GW of renewable energy, making it the world's largest offshore wind farm consisting of 277 wind turbines.
Project director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, Olly Cass, stated that “the safe and successful installation of the offshore platform marks a major milestone in the Dogger Bank project. As the UK's first HVDC platform for an offshore wind farm, it is also a major milestone for the UK industry more widely.”
The platform has been designed to eliminate elements such as living quarters, helideck, and sewage systems, resulting in a 70% reduction in weight (per megawatt) of the topside compared to previous platforms installed, and cost savings of hundreds of millions of pounds. The installation of turbine foundations is progressing well, and later in Q2, specialist cable installation and support vessels will start to install the inter-array network of cables that will connect the turbines to the offshore platform to enable transmission of first power in the summer.
The successful installation of the first offshore substation at Dogger Bank Wind Farm highlights the industry's continuous effort to explore innovative and sustainable energy solutions. This project sets an example for other offshore wind farms to incorporate HVDC converter technology, ensuring efficient and sustainable transmission of electricity over long distances.