Installation of a pair of Siemens 6MW turbines at Gunfleet Sands 3 is about to begin, marking a milestone in the development of next-generation offshore turbines. The 12MW development is DONG Energy's first demonstration project in the UK and will host the first offshore tests of the SWT-6.0-120 6MW units.
Having sailed from the Danish port of Esbjerg, A2SEA's Sea Installer arrived in the Thames estuary yesterday. Currently moored at the project site, 8.5km off Clacton-on-Sea, it will be utilised in the installation of the turbines. "Weather permitting, we're hoping for installation to start imminently," a spokesman for the developer told Windpower Offshore.
Larger capacity turbines are likely to feature widely in the UK's Round 3 projects and require testing in offshore conditions. As such, Gunfleet Sands 3 represents an important stage in the industry's development.
The project is expected to be fully operational by the spring, when DONG Energy will commence a programme of testing to verify turbine performance, reliability and functionality.