Forewind's latest seabed survey contract award has taken the consortium’s spend on offshore surveys to almost £45m (EUR 54m). It has gone to Southampton-based Fugro EMU Limited.
The consortium comprises RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil. Since the rights to develop the Dogger Bank Round 3 zone were awarded in January 2010, several geotechnical, geophysical and ecological surveys have been undertaken. The goal is to understand and characterise the zone's seabed and marine conditions, to inform the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process.
Most of the survey contracts have been awarded to UK companies. Forewind's general manager, Lee Clarke, said they illustrated the enormous potential that Dogger Bank's development offered the UK supply chain.
The zone covers 8,660 sq km and lies off England's north-east coast. It will be developed in stages, with up to eight individual wind farm projects planned. The boundaries of four 1.2GW projects have so far been identified: Dogger Bank Creyke Beck A and B – which will connect to the National Grid in the East Riding of Yorkshire – and Dogger Bank Teesside A and B, destined for grid connection at an existing substation in Tees Valley.
Work to date has mostly focused on the first two tranches, A and B. But the newly awarded survey contract relates to tranche C, where Fugro EMU will assess the benthic population and habitat. The survey area is approximately 1,200 sq km and will involve sampling at more than 50 locations.
The work will include sediment sampling and laboratory analysis. Seabed video and still photography will also be taken, with the footage assessed to support the sediment sampling results. The information gathered will ultimately inform the development consent applications for the Dogger Bank projects and assist with their engineering and design
Fugro EMU will employ the 54m MV Aurelia, with work due to start this month. Weather permitting, it should take about four weeks to complete.