This week marks the installation of the 2,000 tonne offshore substation at Rampion, situated 14 kilometres off the Sussex coast.
After taking approximately two years to design and build, the offshore substation was transported by sea over a distance of 500 nautical miles, from the Firth of Forth in Scotland where it was constructed at Babcock’s Rosyth base, to Southampton Port where it arrived last week. The final leg of its journey to the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm site, took place on Saturday before being lifted into place on top of the substation foundation on Monday, once weather and sea conditions allowed.
The substation, known as the ‘topside’, was installed using a heavy lift vessel, known as the Rambiz and required the use of two cranes with a combined capacity of 3,300 tonnes, which lifted and lowered the structure in tandem. The topside was then positioned by steel guide cones fitted to the bottom of the legs into steel tubes on the foundation. Work to weld the topside to the foundation will be completed in the coming days. Further completion and commissioning works will continue to take place on the substation platform over the coming months in preparation for first generation.
The main role of the substation is to transform the electricity generated by the turbines from 33 kilovolts (kV) up to 150 kV. The structure, which will house electrical components including transformers, switchgear and control systems, will be connected to the 116 turbines via a network of underwater array cables.
The turbine installation began last month and to date eight are now fully installed. The turbine installations are set to continue throughout 2017, with the project due to be completed and fully operational in 2018.
Chris Tomlinson, Development and Stakeholder Manager for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said: “The offshore substation is the largest and most complex component of the wind farm to be installed offshore and a great amount of skill was required by the engineers, crane operators and vessel operators, to lift and position the 2,000 tonne structure into place.
“We are delighted to have reached this important step in the construction process, which takes us another step closer to first generation later this year.”
The 400MW Rampion project is being built 13km off the Sussex coast by E.ON, the UK Green Investment Bank plc and Canadian energy company Enbridge. When complete it will provide enough electricity to supply almost 347,000 homes (1) a year, equivalent to around half the homes in Sussex.