Mammoth construction vessel arrives at site of £1.8bn wind farm

Image credit: Saipem

ONE of the ‘world’s largest’ offshore construction vessels has arrived at the site of the £1.8 billion Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm.

The S7000 Saipem’s semi-submersible crane vessel will start the installation of castings at the EDF Renewables and ESB owned wind farm, which sits 15km off the Fife coast.

The vessel will also work on preparing the seabed in advance of the arrival of the steel foundation jackets on which the 54 wind turbine generators and two offshore substations will be installed.

EDF described the crane vessel as being ‘giant’ at 197.5 metres long, with it being capable of operating in the most ‘challenging’ of weather and carrying out heavy lift operations up to 14,000 tonnes at sea.

Once complete, NnG will supply enough low carbon electricity for 375,000 homes and has a capacity of c. 450 megawatts of low carbon energy and will offset over 400,000 tonnes of Co2 emissions each year, EDF said. A completion date of 2023 has been set by those behind the project.

Matthias Haag, NnG project director, said, “The construction phase of the NnG offshore wind farm is now well underway and many people will be able to see the S7000 starting construction work offshore. It will be visible from much of the East Neuk of Fife and from North Berwick and Dunbar.

“We have carefully considered the implications of COVID-19 and Scottish Government guidelines as the work gets under way offshore and for the continuing onshore works.”

Guido d’Aloisio, Saipem’s head of offshore renewable business line, said, “It’s very important for Saipem to start offshore construction on the NnG offshore wind farm, a milestone for our new business line, and this positions Saipem as a key player in the offshore wind industry.

“Strict protocols and continuous monitoring of the situation will ensure that the health and safety of our employees, clients and partners are protected throughout our operations on the NnG project.”