Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni, is to have an innovative unmanned high-voltage direct current (HVDC) offshore substation
When complete in 2026, the windfarm will become the largest in the world, able to produce enough electricity to power around 5% of the UK’s electricity demand. It will be constructed more than 130 km out to sea, where wind speeds are higher and more consistent than near to the shore.
Dogger Bank will be the first offshore wind project in the UK to use HVDC technology to transmit the electricity produced back to shore, ensuring that the electricity is transmitted efficiently over long distances while minimising losses.
Upon first installation in Dogger Bank A during 2023, the project’s HVDC facility will also become the largest-ever at 1.2 GW, marking a tremendous scale up from the previous industry benchmark of 0.8 GW.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm project director Steve Wilson said, “We have committed to build this project with record low contract for difference strike prices. We will do this using the latest technology to ensure we build and operate the windfarm efficiently, while achieving the highest standards in safety.
“In order to build this complex infrastructure project competitively, while introducing a new technical solution here in the UK, the Dogger Bank project team needed to drive a huge step-change in design.”
Removing the need for personnel to stay on the platform meant it was then possible to eliminate elements such as the living quarters, helideck and sewage systems, resulting in a 70% reduction in weight per megawatt of the topside compared to previous platforms installed, and cost savings of hundreds of millions of pounds.
Dogger Bank offshore platform manager Jon Kippenes said, “Conventional methods have been effective at transmitting electricity from windfarms that are closer to shore, but with Dogger Bank being so far from shore, we chose to use HVDC as it is much more efficient to transfer electricity over long distances.
“As the first project to do this in the UK, we were faced with potentially high costs and uncertainty, but by taking learnings from unmanned installations in the offshore oil and gas sector and working closely with our supplier, we have designed an innovative and safe platform with huge reductions in weight. The Dogger Bank transmission concept was turned from being the project’s Achilles heel into a competitive edge.”
It is expected reusing the design and execution method may give significant benefits to future HVDC projects of similar transmission capacity.
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