The new Rampion Offshore Wind Farm is set to become the first facility of its type off the south coast of England. When it is finished and comes online, it is estimated that its 116 wind turbines will generate 1,366 GWh of power each year. Based on average annual household consumption in the UK, this would be sufficient to power more than 290,000 homes. The power will be generated from a clean, sustainable source, helping to dramatically cut fossil fuel usage and emissions.
The project was initially devised by energy company E.ON in 2010, and the design was refined and developed several times before consent was granted in 2014. Construction on the site began in January 2016. The first stage was to prepare the seabed, getting it ready to house the 140 metre tall wind turbines. The setting poses many challenges, including the condition of the seabed, difficult accessibility, and high levels of wind. Fortunately, skilled specialists are working on the project and coming up with innovative approaches to tackle these issues.
Here at Durham Lifting, we were incredibly proud to be asked to take part in the project. We were called on to manufacture special Spreader beams to be used in the installation. The lifting equipment will be employed to lift the piles into place so they can be securely installed. We have extensive experience with subsea apparatus, designing and producing bespoke solutions for a diverse range of hoisting and lifting requirements.
The Spreader beams for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm have been developed especially for this project. They need to be able to bear a huge amount of weight and be capable of handling the length of the piles. Created by skilled coded welders, the final design will be capable of supporting up to 870 tonnes in weight, making it ideal for the task at hand. Rigging will also be created for use with the beams, designed for successful monopole lifting, hammer lifting and TP.
All equipment we work with is extensively tested to ensure it satisfies the appropriate standards. We maintain a meticulous and stringent testing process because we understand just how essential it is that the equipment performs at the highest level in terms of performance and safety. As an example, we tested the beams involved in this work to 957 tonnes using our fully calibrated test machine.
The erection of the wind turbines at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm is expected to take place in 2016 after the foundations are completed. We look forward to seeing the final results, knowing that we had a hand in its completion.