The East of England branchhad a comprehensive and interesting talk from Richard Rigg, the project director for the London Array offshore wind farm near Kent. He has been leading this very large and complex project for over 10 years and it has now just started offshore construction after some political and technical delays.
Its a joint venture between 3 large partners and is very multi-national in composition with only about 10% of the work being done in Britain.
Its also the first 1000MW consented, industrial scale wind farm in the UK, with 175 turbines with a diameter of120m over a 100 sq. Km. area, just inside the UKs 12 mile coastal area.
There are2 phases to the project with thefirst phase under construction and a second370MW phase which is dependent upon the outcome of further environmental studies. The total 1,000MW would supply enough energy to power a quarter of greater London homes.
The project management approach was brought in from Shell (one of the original partners) and they use work packages, gate reviews, dependency diagrams, a Procurement Quilt (to show the network of suppliers of work packages) and interestingly some planned float to cater for the unpredictable weather in the North Sea.
To help overcome local opposition to the siting of an onshore sub-station, they even ran an architectural competition to help design the look for the sub-station!
Richard highlighted that one of the most challenging issues is that the offshore export transmission cables can be easily damaged when laying them, and that each of the turbine legs has to be designed individually to cater for the local seabed and wave conditions!
The talk was followed by many interested questions and we look forward to hearing further about this project at a future date.
Written by: Andrew Rylah