Peterhead sees the benefit of EOWDC

Artist's impression of the EOWDC turbines offshore
Artist's impression of the EOWDC turbines offshore

One of the world’s largest cranes is to moor in a north-east harbour as construction work begins on the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

Peterhead Port Authority will support the start of offshore work for the Vattenfall development in Aberdeen Bay after signing an agreement to harbour the “suction bucket” jacket foundations for the 11-turbine scheme.

The contract, which was announced today, allows the world’s largest floating cranes, with a maximum lifting capacity of 5,000 tonnes, and up to six barges that will transport the foundations – the heaviest of which weighs around 1,800 tonnes and is about 77 metres high to be based at the harbour.

Peterhead Port Authority will also accommodate two supporting offshore construction vessels while a project site office will be set up nearby for the installation operations which are due to start later this year.

The contract for Peterhead Port Authority was awarded by Boskalis which is Vattenfall’s key supplier for the offshore construction and installation including the foundations and cabling.

Adam Ezzamel, Vattenfall’s project director for the EOWDC, said: “We welcome the selection of the experienced Peterhead Port Authority to marshal the massive steel structures needed for the cutting-edge EOWDC, and which builds on our investment with the project in the north-east.

He added: “We are sure the sheer scale and prominence of the pioneering technology and work involved with the EOWDC will create a positive renewables momentum for the region putting the north-east at the centre of international offshore wind innovation.”

Ian Laidlaw, chief executive at Peterhead Port Authority, said: “The port authority is very pleased to be able to play a key role in the EOWDC project as it emphasises Peterhead’s experience and the range of services that the port can offer. It also provides important opportunities for our established supply chain partners.

“Peterhead has been an integral part of the UK’s energy industry for the past 50 years and the EOWDC represents a new chapter in the vital role that the energy sector plays in support the national economy.”

Minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “This is great news for business in Peterhead, and an indication of the port’s growing reputation as a place which can accommodate some of the most challenging and cutting-edge offshore construction requirements, which is thanks in part to a recent £5million Scottish Government investment to modernise the port, which we announced in December.

“This reinforces the north-east of Scotland’s status as one of the world’s foremost destinations for the deployment of emerging offshore wind technology.”

The foundations will be transported to Peterhead for mooring via the six barge vessels, five of which will carry two foundations while the sixth will transport the final one. The installation vessel will be moored alongside the barges for heavy-lift operations.

When offshore work starts, more than half the foundations will be installed under the water within the seabed.

Peterhead Port is to support the installation operations for at least four months with the offshore work expected to take around four to six weeks.

Andre Andringa, project director at Boskalis, said: “Peterhead Port Authority’s facilities provide a natural fit to support the foundation installation work for a number of reasons.

With more than 3km of deep-water berthing, it can comfortably accommodate a large heavy lift vessel while the harbour is also sheltered which helps minimise the impact of weather for loading.”

Morag McCorkindale of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), said: “This is fantastic news for Peterhead Port and Vattenfall and another example of the value the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay continues to bring to the economic development of its surrounding area.”

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