Today, the latest milestone for the flagship offshore wind farm, Gwynt y Môr, will be achieved with the departure by sea of the UK engineered and built Siemens” offshore substation. Destined for installation in Liverpool Bay, the 1,500 tonne platform was jointly designed, engineered and fabricated by Siemens in Manchester and Belfast-based shipbuilders Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries Ltd.

This month also saw the commencement of the laying of foundations and subsea cables for the first of the 160 wind turbines, which will make up the 576MW offshore wind farm. When completed the wind farm will generate green energy for almost a third of the total of homes in Wales.

The first substation leaves H&W today (Monday, 13 August) following a barge loading and tugging operation which commenced on Friday, 10. When it reaches its destination off the coast of North Wales on Tuesday, 14 it 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.

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 this latest milestone, John Willcock, managing director of Siemens Energy Transmission UK said:
“The Gwynt y Môr project is a very key project for the UK. The substations have been designed, engineered and built here, 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. We are hugely proud to have achieved this from our base in Manchester working together with RWE npower renewables in Wales and Harland and Wolff in Northern Ireland.””

Gwynt y Môr”s construction so far has already supported hundreds of design, engineering and construction jobs in Wales, the North West and Northern Ireland, and generated over £300 million for the UK economy. Siemens is creating many new green engineering roles in Manchester and H&W have created many highly skilled engineering jobs during the substations project, On completion, at least another 100 long term, skilled engineering jobs will be created at RWE npower renewables” operations and maintenance base at the Port of Mostyn, north Wales.

Sales Manager at H & W, David McVeigh said: “”It is great to see these major projects designed and built in the UK.

“These projects utilise a vast range of UK products, equipment, services and personnel. The substations are a shining example of British companies working together to achieve great things.””

RWE npower renewables” Gwynt y Môr Project Director, Toby Edmonds said: “This latest milestone is fantastic news for the project. Last week we installed the first wind turbine foundation and the first export cable. This week brings the delivery of the first of two offshore substations. It is being transported directly to its installation site more than ten miles off the north Wales coast where it will be lifted onto of the jacket foundation structure by the heavy lift vessel, Stanislav Yudin.”