RWE, a German multinational energy company, has begun construction of its 1.4 GW Sofia Offshore Wind Farm project, the largest project currently in construction across its entire renewables fleet.

Achievement of the construction milestone is a pivotal moment for the project after The Crown Estate awarded the rights to develop offshore wind energy on Dogger Bank to a consortium of four leading energy companies, including RWE, as part of its Round 3 Leasing Round in 2010.

The project has since passed a number of milestones in preparation for construction, achieving a development consent order in 2015 and submitting a winning bid to the U.K.’s fourth contract for difference auction in 2019, with the lowest ever strike price of £39.65 per MWh (in 2012 prices).

The official construction will start with onshore activities, which are also known as enabling works. Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK has been contracted to carry out the work. These works take place at the site of the new high-voltage DC converter station which will be constructed by GE’s Grid Solutions starting in early 2022.

Initial work on the 7 km onshore cable route will start at around the same time, with the contractor for that package due to be announced later this year. RWE has contracted Prysmian to supply and install the onshore export cable from a point between Redcar and Marske-by-the-Sea to the new converter station, before connecting to the existing National Grid substation in Lackenby, the U.K.

“Achieving this start-of-construction milestone for Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is a great moment for the entire RWE Renewables team and a fantastic tribute to the 11 years of hard work and collaboration from everyone involved, including our suppliers and stakeholders,” says Sven Utermöhlen, COO of global offshore wind at RWE Renewables. “Building a project of this size and scale is a great opportunity to demonstrate our expertise for delivering cost-effective offshore wind energy around the globe. By installing next-generation wind turbines and the most advanced balance of plant technology so far offshore, we will also gain valuable insights to deploy on our new projects, especially our two new adjacent sites on Dogger Bank South which we were recently awarded by The Crown Estate.”

The Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is located on Dogger Bank, 195 km from the nearest point on the U.K.’s northeast coast. Consisting of a total of 100 turbines, the wind farm is the largest and furthest offshore for RWE and will provide valuable experience for the company which is also developing two new adjacent sites located on Dogger Bank.

Offshore installation is expected to begin in 2023, with final project completion expected in the fourth quarter of 2026. Sofia will be the first project in the world to install Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy’s brand new 14 MW wind turbine, the most advanced offshore wind turbine technology available.

For more information about Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, click here.

Photo: Sofia Offshore Wind Farm’s cable route map

This post appeared first on North American Windpower.

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