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Van Oord starts Sofia wind farm installation process

The Aeolus vessel is shown installing the first monopile foundation at the Sofia offshore wind farm.

Posted on May 22, 2024

Van Oord’s Aeolus vessel has installed the first of 100 monopile foundations at the RWE Sofia offshore wind farm development in the UK southern North Sea.

The 1.4-GW project is located on Dogger Bank, 195 km from the coast of northeast England.

RWE awarded Van Oord the design, engineering, procurement, construction and installation contract for the monopile foundations and array cables.

Van Oord Offshore Wind UK is managing the work from its MPI Offshore office in Stokesley, Teesside.

The company’s flexible fallpipe vessels Bravenes and Nordnes placed scour protection at the locations where the monopiles will be installed. Each will have a diameter of up to 8.8 m, a length of up to 92 m and a weight of up to 1,530 metric tons.

Following manufacture by EEW in Rostock, Germany, the structures are being transported by barges to the Port of Tyne near Newcastle, which serves as the storage and marshalling base for the wind turbine generator foundations.

The extended monopile design avoids the need for a transition piece. To complete the foundations, the monopiles will include secondary steel components comprising main access platforms, internal platforms, boat landings and upper ladders.

Various suppliers in the Netherlands and Poland are producing the secondary steel components, again for transport to the Port of Tyne.

Later this year, Van Oord’s Calypso vessel and trencher Dig-it will install the 360 km of array cables, manufactured in Greece and stored in the Port of Blyth, north of Newcastle.


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