Geophysicists help combine wind farms into one hub to cut costs

The Fugro Scout, a geotechnical vessel Picture: VAN DER KLOET FOTO

The Fugro Scout, a geotechnical vessel Picture: VAN DER KLOET FOTO - Credit: Archant

Geo-data specialists are set to scan the East Anglian sea bed in a deal worth £55m.

Wind energy firm ScottishPower Renewables has awarded a contract to Dutch multinational Fugro to carry out geophysical surveys and site investigations across three of its offshore wind farms.

The company plans to combine East Anglia ONE North, East Anglia Two and East Anglia Three into a single East Anglia Hub capable of delivering 3,100MW, which would be enough to power around 2.7m homes.

Once complete, it is hoped the £6.5bn hub could generate around 10% of all the UK’s offshore wind power by 2050.

Fugro is set to start looking at sites and export cable corridors from July 2020, with its work continuing into 2021, enabling work to start on ground models and preliminary designs.

When completed, the hub will comprise up to 263 wind turbines and Fugro’s work will include turbine-specific site investigations across all three locations next year.

The initial 1,400MW of power to be generated via East Anglia Three has secured planning consent, and applications for a further 1,700MW – split between East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two – have been submitted.

Most Read

It is hoped that the creation of a hub will cut construction times and energy costs.

ScottishPower Renewables has finished building the 102-turbine East Anglia ONE, which lies 43km off the Suffolk coast and is now fully operational.

Hub boss Ross Ovens said awarding the major contract to Fugro was “a significant milestone” in the East Anglia Hub project.

“Fugro’s work will provide us with the key data we need to plan and develop our sites, keeping us on track to create the Hub which will play a key role in helping the UK reduce its carbon emissions.

“The benefits of the Hub surpass green energy provision and will bring a wealth of opportunities to the local and national economy with long-term investment and job creation during all phases of the project.”

Richard Hill, Fugro’s proposal manager for the project, said it was “a significant and exciting project” for Fugro.

“Fugro’s innovative technologies, experienced geophysical and geotechnical survey teams, and large capacity for advanced soil testing laboratory in the UK will be crucial in helping ScottishPower Renewables meet their project timescales.”