Van Oord’s offshore installation vessel Aeolus will be used on Sofia (pict. RWE Renewables)
The company has selected the international marine contractor Van Oord as the preferred supplier for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of the monopile foundations and array cables, for one of the world’s largest offshore wind projects.
The 1.4 GW Sofia is sited on Dogger Bank in the central North Sea 195 kilometres from the North East coast, where Van Oord, through its UK-branch MPI Offshore, will create a logistics hub to deliver the comprehensive scope of work.
Van Oord will deploy its offshore installation vessel Aeolus to install the 100 extended monopile foundations without transition pieces, while the 350 kilometres of array cables will be installed by the family-owned firm’s first cable-laying vessel Nexus. The company will sub-contract the fabrication of the foundations and array cables.
Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables said: “On Dogger Bank, we are realising one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms. Van Oord is a well-known partner to us, with Sofia the fifth and largest UK offshore wind farm that we have worked on together. This gives us a wealth of experience to draw on as we progress the project through its construction phase. Sofia is a flagship for RWE Renewables in terms of technology and innovation, and for the UK through regional supply chain opportunities and as a major contributor to the nation’s net zero ambitions.”
Van Oord worked closely with RWE on the construction of the Rampion, Humber Gateway, Robin Rigg and London Array offshore wind farms. Sofia brings the opportunity to further develop UK supply chain relationships, evolve construction techniques, and optimise the design of the foundations, which will be supporting some of the largest turbines currently on the market.
Pieter van Oord, CEO of Van Oord said: “We are extremely proud to be working together with RWE Renewables as the EPCI contractor for the permanent works of the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm. Van Oord is again at the forefront of projects that contribute to the transition to renewable energy. The project will be executed by MPI Offshore from our Stokesley office in Teesside and will deliver excellent opportunities for the local supply chain and labour market and to support the industry’s UK Sector Deal ambitions.”
Onshore construction will get underway at Sofia’s converter station site in Teesside early next year. Work on the foundation and array package is set to begin after the project’s financial investment decision in Q1 2021, with installation scheduled for 2024. This foundation and array cable news now completes the main packages for Sofia with preferred supplier agreements already in place with Prysmian Group for the project’s HVDC export cable; a consortium of GE’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine for its HVDC transmission system, and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, set to supply the wind farm with its most advanced 14 Megawatts (MW) offshore wind turbines.
Sofia wind farm is 100% owned by RWE, the second biggest player in offshore wind globally and the UK's second largest generator of electricity. The UK plays a key role in RWE’s strategy to grow its renewables portfolio and to become carbon neutral by 2040. The company is currently constructing the offshore wind farm
Triton Knoll. In addition, RWE and partners recently, signed Agreements for Lease with The Crown Estate to develop extension projects at four offshore wind farms; Gwynt y Môr, Galloper, Greater Gabbard and Rampion.
By the end of 2022, RWE aims to expand its renewables portfolio to more than 13 GW net capacity by investing €5 billion net, with the UK one of the core markets in Europe. Together with partners, the gross investment volume can amount to up to €9 billion. To achieve its growth targets, RWE has an attractive project development pipeline of more than 22 GW, across all of the company’s strategic core regions.