A milestone in the development of next-generation offshore turbines has been reached, with the start of foundations installation at DONG Energy's Gunfleet Sands 3 demonstration project. Ballast Nedam's Svanen arrived at the site, 8.5km off Clacton-on-Sea, and commenced the installation of the two monopiles on 20 September.
The foundations will support a pair of next-generation Siemens turbines that DONG Energy will test. The 12MW development is DONG's first demonstration project in the UK and will be the first time that the 6MW turbine will be tested offshore. The SWT-6.0-120 6MW units will be installed over the winter, using A2SEA's jack-up vessel, Sea Installer.
The development of Gunfleet Sands 3 marks an important stage in the industry's efforts to reduce the costs of wind energy. The UK's Round 3 projects will have a much bigger capacity than existing wind farms, and are likely to deploy larger-capacity turbines.
DONG received full consent in April for the development of Gunfleet Sands 3. It is being built beside the existing 173MW Gunfleet Sands 1 & 2 development in the Thames estuary. Gunfleet Sands 1 & 2 was developed by DONG and came on stream in spring 2010. It uses Siemens' SWT-3.6-107 turbines.
Marubeni Corporation acquired a 49.9% stake in the project as co-owners in September last year, but DONG Energy retains 100% ownership of the demonstration project.