More than 120,000 tonnes of steelwork are currently in fabrication across the UK, Europe and Asia for the Beatrice offshore wind farm, its developer SSE has said.
With one fifth of the foundation piles already in place at the site in the Outer Moray Firth, the company is preparing to install the first steel jacket foundations this summer.
The latest photographs from Belgium engineering group Smulders show a number of the 232ft structures being assembled at its yard in Antwerp in preparation to transported to the north of Scotland.
Smulders was contracted by Subsea7-owned Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL) to build 28 jackets for the £2.6billion development eight miles off the Caithness coast.
Fife-based BiFab was also awarded a contract to build 26 using its facilities at Methil, Burntisland and Arnish in the Outer Hebrides. The remaining 30 jackets for the 84-turbine wind farm are being fabricated by Danish firm Bladt Industries. Two offshore substations for the wind farm are also being built in Scotland.
Offshore work on the project got underway at the start of last month with the arrival of SHL’s heavy lifting vessel Stanislav Yudin to install the steel foundation piles for the jackets. Another SHL ship, the 47,000 tonne Oleg Strashnov is due to arrive in August for the installation of the first jackets.
SSE’s senior project manager Steve Wilson said: “The offshore construction activities are a 24/7 operation and will continue for the next two years until the final wind turbine is installed during the first half of 2019.”
He added: “So far we’ve hit our targets and it’s been extremely pleasing to see both the rate of progress and how hard the team from SSE has been working to ensure this is maintained.”