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Plans unveiled for England’s first floating wind farm at EDF Renewables’ Blyth site

Renewables investment has fallen due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Wind turbines stand on the EDF Blyth Offshore Demonstrator (BOD) wind farm, operated by EDF Energy Renewables. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

EDF Renewables aims to support the “further development” off floating offshore wind in the UK after it confirmed plans to deploy the technology in the North Sea.

The sustainable energy firm will build phase two of its Blyth Offshore Demonstrator (BOD) wind farm off the coast of Northumberland using floating turbines, which, once completed, will be “among the first projects of its kind in English waters”.

The initial phase of the wind farm consists of five wind turbines and was constructed in 2017.

It has a generating capacity of 41.5 megawatts (MW) and was the first UK offshore wind farm to use float and submerge gravity base foundations.

Project planning for phase two is already ongoing with consent variation and procurement activities underway to use the Blyth site for the installation of up to five further turbines.

This would be in an already identified array location about nine miles from shore in water depths of around 55 metres.

EDF Renewables said the capacity for phase two has still to be finalised, but the current consent for the development is for a maximum of 99.9 MW, leaving a remaining capacity of 58.4 MW.

The project has yet to select the key contractors, including the turbine supplier, the firm has said a “range of floating technology options are being considered”, with the final design “still to be determined”.

The project aims to demonstrate “new and innovative technologies” that have the potential to reduce the cost of offshore wind developments in the future.

As a result, EDF Renewables said it is working closely with suppliers and research organisations, including the Glasgow-based Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

Michele Schiavone, director of Offshore wind at EDF Renewables, said : “We are very excited about this next phase of the BOD project and want to further the demonstration of construction and operation of floating turbines to show that floating wind is technically feasible and cost competitive in water depths of 50-60 metres.

“With the Contract for Difference (CfD) mechanism providing a potential route to market, we are confident that floating turbine technology can accelerate the UK’s journey to a net zero future where clean energy powers all our lives. We will use the project to support the further development of this emerging technology.”

“We are ambitious when it comes to offshore wind and already have two operational offshore wind sites at Blyth and Teesside. We are currently working on our 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe project in the Firth of Forth in Scotland (a joint venture with ESB) and our Irish Codling project (a joint venture with Fred.Olsen Renewables) which will have a capacity of up to 1.5GW.”

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