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Fugro's central role in de-commissioning UK's first offshore windfarm

M&CCE Expo exhibitor Fugro is proud to have played a central role in de-commissioning the UK’s first offshore windfarm. The two turbines at Blyth were installed 20 years ago with support from Fugro and it is an indication of their key role in the renewable industry that the company returned to the site to remove the assets.

Being able to play a key role, in not only the installation, but the maintenance and decommissioning of renewable energy in the UK was really exciting for the team. Through early engagement and input into project design and buildability, Fugro create time and cost-efficient packages that bring together the required skills and resources in any location in the world, whatever the site conditions.

The pioneering windfarm at Blyth, consisted of two wind turbine generators, each mounted on a 3.5m dia. monopile fixed in a pre-drilled, grouted socket. For the decommissioning work Fugro used their Excalibur jack-up barge, equipped with a pedestal mounted crane and accommodation for up to 40 people. To remove the monopile, they cut the structure 0.5m below the seabed using a water jetting tool, the jack-up’s integral ETSU legs/reaction beams were then used to lift the monopile free in a controlled manner, before being lifted from the seabed on to Excalibur’s deck and onward to recycling. The remaining socket was filled with 250t of ballast stone to reach seabed level.

One differentiating aspect of this project was the cable recovery process. A 1.4 km length of heavy-duty cable was disconnected and safely earthed to ensure no residual current remained. Following this, marine and inter-tidal recovery methods were employed, and safe recovery was completed. Where the cable ran through a sand bank, a mass flow excavation tool was used to expose it and allow for recovery to continue. Within the inter-tidal zone, two 15t excavators were used to uncover the cable. All cable sections were delivered to a storage location in the nearby port for disposal. One of the turbines will be recycled and re-used for spare parts within E.ON’s onshore fleet and the other will be used by the Port of Blyth for training purposes.

The Blyth Offshore Windfarm project encouraged a new era of renewable technologies which remains a strong focus for the UK Government who aim to generate 30% of the country’s electricity from wind by 2030. Fugro played a key role throughout the project lifecycle from beginning to end using their extensive experience, knowledge of the sector and innovative plant and machinery. Fugro has been involved in 90% of the historic and current offshore wind projects in Europe. Decommissioning makes way for bigger and better offshore wind farms and ultimately improves the UK’s renewable energy capabilities, contributing to a sustainable and liveable world. 

Visit the Fugro Marine Infrastructure Solutions team on stand MC63

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