Wind power a step closer

THIS was the impressive scene yesterday as the first turbines were installed at a wind farm off the Suffolk coast.

The 500-megawatt Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, around 25 kilometres from Sizewell, is expected to be complete in two years’ time.

The first turbines were moved onto the site yesterday and erected on top of their recently installed foundations.

The components arrive at Harwich by boat and are then brought alongside the turbine foundations by a special barge which lowers its legs to the sea bed before raising itself hydraulically.

Using the onboard cranes the turbine tower is lifted into place followed by the generator, the cone-shaped piece on the front of the turbine and the three blades.

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Overall, 140 turbines will be installed –each generating around 3.6MW of electricity.

Project manager Vince Read, from RWE npower renewables, said the first turbine installation represented a significant step.

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“We remain on course to complete the wind farm in 2012,” he said.

Jim Smith, director of offshore from Scottish and Southern Energy, added: “The wind farm will make an important contribution towards achieving government targets for renewable energy generation.”

The wind turbines are being supplied by Siemens and installed by Fluor.

Last week The Crown Estate announced it would be extending the Greater Gabbard site, doubling the power it generates by 2016.

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