One of the world’s largest offshore construction vessels has arrived off the coast of Fife.
The arrival of the giant semi-submersible crane vessel marks the start of offshore work on the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) wind farm.
The S7000, owned by Saipem, will start the installation of casings for piles as the project enters its first phase of offshore construction.
It is the world’s third largest semi-submersible crane vessel and is supplied with 16 anchor lines – four for each corner.
This giant vessel is 197.5 metres long and can work in the most challenging weather conditions. It can work in depths of 2,000 metres and carry out heavy lift operations up to 14,000 tonnes at sea.
It will also work on preparing the seabed in advance of the arrival of the steel foundation jackets on which the 54 wind turbine generators and two offshore substations will be installed.
The NnG project is owned by EDF Renewables and ESB and is located 15 kilometres off the Fife coast.
The wind farm, located in the Firth of Forth, will supply enough energy to power 375,000 homes and has a capacity of around 450 megawatts.
Full commissioning will complete in 2023.
Matthias Haag, NnG project director, said: “The construction phase of the NnG offshore wind farm is now well under way and many people will be able to see the S7000 starting construction work offshore. It will be visible from much of the East Neuk of Fife and from North Berwick and Dunbar.
“We have carefully considered the implications of Covid-19 and Scottish Government guidelines as the work gets under way offshore and for the continuing onshore works.”
Saipem will supply and install the foundations for the turbines. It will also supply and install an additional two jackets for the offshore substations.
Fife firm BiFab will build “at least” eight foundation jackets – used to anchor the turbines to the seabed.
Guido d’Aloisio, Saipem head of offshore renewable business line, said: “It’s very important for Saipem to start offshore construction on the NnG offshore wind farm, a milestone for our new business line, and this positions Saipem as a key player in the offshore wind industry.
“Strict protocols and continuous monitoring of the situation will ensure that the health and safety of our employees, clients and partners are protected throughout our operations on the NnG project.”
Onshore work continues on the project at various locations along the cable route which starts at Thorntonloch beach and finishes in the Lammermuir Hills.