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Neart na Gaoithe wind farm to deploy advanced construction technologies

448 MW project is expected to be the first commercially-deployed offshore wind farm that does not require a dedicated heavy offshore substation topside and foundation.

Global wind and solar company, Mainstream Renewable Power, today announced that its 448 megawatt offshore wind farm in Scotland will use two recently launched technologies which are set to decrease costs, reduce construction and operational risk, improve safety and ultimately provide the cheapest electricity ever produced by a UK offshore wind farm.

The technologies, which have been under development for several years, were formally launched last month following extensive design, de-risking and testing work. The technologies include the new Offshore Transmission Module (OTM), by Siemens Energy Management Division, and High Wind’s Boom Lock system to be deployed by GeoSea for wind turbine component installation at sea. 

Neart na Gaoithe is expected to be the first commercially-deployed offshore wind farm that does not require a dedicated heavy offshore substation topside and foundation -- or the requisite specialist installation vessels.  
In short, the innovative design approach means that two wind turbine foundations can be used to support the OTM modules, which include the essential transmission equipment.  In combination the OTM’s offer the same transmission capacity as a conventional solution, but with an expected 30% project saving against the offshore substation system CAPEX costs, according to Siemens. Likewise, operating costs are expected to be reduced significantly.
“Our goal is to deliver a world-class wind farm as well as the best value for money for consumers -- and that’s what these technologies will help us achieve," said Andy Kinsella, Mainstream’s chief operations officer. "Safety, innovation and teamwork are three of Mainstream’s core values and we are working closely with our partners to adapt these innovative solutions in order to drive costs down, reduce risk and improve safety.“
For good measures, High Wind’s Boom Lock© system will allow the safe installation of all wind turbine components in winds of up to 15 m/s.  How it works: The system is mounted on an offshore crane and is designed to control the movement of the crane hook and the payload in such a way that installation time can be drastically reduced. (See video.) High Wind's engineers say it will considerably increase safety during the installation of the wind turbines, as the heavy payloads’ uncontrolled movements in windy conditions will be greatly reduced. This will result in savings due to reduced cost for installation vessels, installation crews and related costs, as well as increased income due to earlier completion of the wind farms.
“Logically, wind farms are being built in areas where there is a lot of wind; that's why it makes sense to use the right tools to maximise on the workability during periods of strong winds and, at the same time, maintain the highest level of safety," said Bart De Poorter, general manager of GeoSea. "Offshore wind projects are an important business activity for GeoSea. We look forward to capitalising on the benefits of Boom Lock© in future projects by improving safety as well as productivity as we saw during the development and testing of the Boom Lock© system that was done in close cooperation with GeoSea”. 
Neart na Gaoithe, which was one of only two offshore wind farms awarded a CfD by the UK government in February, received planning consent in October 2014 and is expected to be generating electricity and fully commissioned by 2020.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Wind power