The first of two offshore substations, built by Siemens and shipbuilders Harland and Wolff (H&W), left Belfast yesterday for installation in Liverpool Bay, off the coast of North Wales.
Leaving Belfast yesterday, the substation will be one of two to transfer energy generated by 160 wind turbines (yet to be built) to the national grid, powering just under a third of houses in Wales.
The substation will arrive at its destination today (Tuesday 14 July), and will be craned onto a pre-installed jacket foundation. Connections from the wind farm arrays and the shore can then be made to the platform. The substation is due to start exporting to the grid in 2013.
This month, the commencement of the laying of foundations and subsea cables for the first of the 160 wind turbines took place.
The array of 160 Siemens’ wind turbine generators will be connected via high voltage (33,000 Volts) cables in the seabed to the two new offshore substations. Once onboard the platforms the wind-generated energy will be transformed to an even higher voltage (132,000 Volts) for efficient transmission back to a new onshore substation at St Asaph in North Wales, which is also being built by Siemens.
The contract to construct the offshore substations was awarded by Siemens to H&W in July 2010 and since then the two companies have worked closely to develop the two platforms, which were built side by side in H&W’s facility in Belfast.
Commenting on the installation of the substation, John Willcock, managing director of Siemens Energy Transmission UK said: “The substations have been designed, engineered and built [in the UK], which is a huge boost to UK manufacturing and local job creation. It is also a great demonstration of the ongoing vibrancy of the renewables sector and its potential for the UK economy.”