RWE Installs First Turbine Foundation at Its Flagship Sofia Offshore Wind Farm

(Image credit: RWE)

RWE has taken a huge step forward in delivering its flagship Sofia Offshore Wind Farm with the installation of the project’s first offshore turbine foundation. With a capacity of 1.4 gigawatts (GW), Sofia is RWE’s largest offshore wind farm to date. After its expected commissioning in 2026, the project will be capable of generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1.2 million typical UK homes.

Following the installation of the essential subsea cable infrastructure, this installation marks the start of offshore construction within the array itself. It is the first of 100 foundations to be installed at the 593 km² array.

Sven Utermöhlen, CEO RWE Offshore Wind, said: “Sofia is RWE’s largest offshore wind construction project to date, and its furthest from shore. Installing the first monopile is a highly symbolic moment in the construction of every offshore wind farm. After 14 years of planning and preparation, this is a great achievement for the entire RWE team. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their contribution. Building a project of this size and scale is a great opportunity to demonstrate our expertise in delivering offshore wind energy around the globe.”

Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is located on Dogger Bank, 195 kilometers from the nearest point on the UK’s northeast coast, and will have a single offshore converter platform, with the electricity generated transported to landfall 220 kilometers away in Redcar, Teesside.

The wind farm will use 100 Siemens Gamesa 14 megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbines (SG 14-222 DD), the most advanced offshore wind turbine technology available, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026. A total of 44 of the project’s 100 turbines will be equipped with recyclable blades. Once completed, each 14 MW turbine will be 252 meters tall, with a 108-meter carbon and fiberglass blade and a 222-meter diameter rotor sweeping an area of 39,000 m2.

Operations and maintenance activities for the wind farm will be located at RWE’s new offshore wind operations base ‘Grimsby Hub’, which also supports RWE’s Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm and future projects.

Van Oord, an international marine contractor, owns and operates the vessel Aeolus that carries out the work to install the foundations at the wind farm array on Dogger Bank. Following the successful construction of the Rampion, Humber Gateway, Robin Rigg and London Array wind farms, Sofia is the fifth major offshore wind project the company is delivering in collaboration with RWE.

The vessel and crew will deliver the installation of three foundations per cycle, with a transit time of up to 16 hours. The total duration of this campaign phase will depend on sea conditions, but all 100 foundations are expected to be installed by spring 2025. This follows the installation of the high voltage direct current (HVDC) export cable which started during 2023.

The work also signals a new chapter for the Port of Tyne, which has undergone a significant upgrade in order to support this work.

The UK plays a key role in RWE’s strategy to grow its offshore wind portfolio

RWE is a leading partner in the delivery of the UK’s Net Zero ambitions and energy security, as well as in contributing to the UK build-out target for offshore wind of 50 GW by 2030. RWE already operates 10 offshore wind farms across the UK. Including the three Norfolk offshore wind projects from Vattenfall, RWE is developing nine offshore wind projects in the UK, representing a combined potential installed capacity of around 9.8 GW, with RWE’s pro rata share amounting to 7 GW. RWE’s unparalleled track record of more than 20 years in offshore wind has resulted in 19 offshore wind farms in operation. The company’s goal is to triple its global offshore wind capacity from 3.3 GW today to 10 GW in 2030.

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