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Van Oord Installs First Monopile at RWE Sofia Offshore Wind Farm in UK

Van Oord’s offshore installation vessel, Aeolus, has successfully installed the first monopile foundation at the RWE Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, marking a significant milestone in the construction of one of the largest offshore wind projects in the world.

Located on Dogger Bank in the central North Sea, 195 kilometers from the North East coast of the UK, the 1.4 GW Sofia Offshore Wind Farm will eventually consist of 100 monopile foundations. Once completed, it will have the capacity to power 1.2 million average UK homes.

Van Oord, contracted by RWE, is responsible for the design, engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) of the monopile foundations and array cables. The project is being managed from Van Oord Offshore Wind UK’s MPI Offshore office in Stokesley, Teesside.

To prepare the seabed for the monopiles, Van Oord utilized its flexible fallpipe vessels, Bravenes and Nordnes, to install scour protection. The monopiles, each with a diameter of up to 8.8 meters, a length of up to 92 meters, and a weight of up to 1,530 tonnes, were manufactured by EEW in Rostock, Germany. They are transported to the Port of Tyne, near Newcastle, which serves as the storage and marshalling base for the wind turbine generator (WTG) foundations.

Project Director Roeland Ris expressed his satisfaction with the progress, stating, “We’re very pleased to announce reaching this significant milestone. Following thorough preparations, offshore construction is now in full swing, driven by a high-performing project team and great cooperation with all partners involved.”

The project employs extended monopiles, which eliminate the need for a transition piece. These monopiles will be equipped with secondary steel components such as main access platforms, internal platforms, boat landings, and upper ladders, manufactured by suppliers in the Netherlands and Poland and transported to the Port of Tyne.

Later this year, Van Oord’s cable-laying vessel, Calypso, and trencher, Dig-it, will be deployed to install the 360 kilometers of array cables. These cables, manufactured in Greece, are currently stored in the Port of Blyth, just north of Newcastle.

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