Work to install the world’s deepest offshore wind turbine foundation has been completed off the Scottish coast.
There it was met by the Saipem 7000 semisubmersible crane vessel, which lifted each of the 2,000-tonne turbine foundations into place.
Installation of the structure means Seagreen – due to be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm – has beaten its own record of 57.4 metres, set in October.
This most recent foundation was fitted at a depth of 58.6.
Hailed as a “significant milestone” by Seagreen developer SSE Renewables, it also marks the installation of the 112th jacket at the 114-wind turbine wind farm.
The final unit is expected to be fitted at the project, a £3 billion joint venture between SSE Renewables and TotalEnergies, later this week.
Each foundation will support a Vestas V164-10 MW turbine.
First power was achieved from Seagreen in August, with the offshore wind farm expected to enter commercial operation later this year.
When complete, the 1.1 gigawatt (GW) development will be capable of generating around 5,000 GWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power more than 1.6 million UK homes.
Minister of state for energy security and net zero, Graham Stuart said: “This is another terrific milestone for both Scotland and the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry.
“As I saw first-hand last week, Seagreen is making history with the world’s deepest wind turbine foundation which, once operational, will play an invaluable role in powering more of Britain from Britain.”
Scottish cabinet secretary for wellbeing economy, fair work and energy, Neil Gray said: “We already know that Scotland has the skills, innovation and natural resources to be a true world-leader in offshore wind technology – from ScotWind, to INTOG, to the spectacular Seagreen installation.
“As set out in our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, offshore wind power will play a key role in our energy transition, and the Scottish Government will continue to support the sector to continue to deliver innovative, landmark projects like this – not only generating clean, green energy, but delivering increasing economic benefits across our wider supply chains and communities.”
Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE, said: “Seagreen is an important part of SSE’s £12.5bn Net Zero Acceleration Plan, through which we’re investing £7m a day in critical low-carbon infrastructure that will help the UK achieve energy independence. By the end of the decade, we have plans to invest over £24bn in Britain alone.
“This is not only a significant step on the road to project completion but also shows how we continue to innovate and push the boundaries of technology to power change. Everyone involved in the project can be very proud of their contribution.
“Thanks to a strong and stable policy framework, the UK has established itself as the world leader on offshore wind and SSE Renewables is building more offshore wind than anyone on the planet. But we want to do more and now is the time to accelerate if we are to achieve the UK’s target of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.”
John Hill, Seagreen’s project director, said: “Reaching this major milestone is testament to the skill of our project team and all our contractors including those who are part of our Scottish and UK supply chain.
“More than 50 people are involved each time a foundation installation takes place including the onshore team, ballast engineer, tug captain, crew, riggers, welders, tow master and pilot.
“Our ability to install jackets at this depth, in what is a challenging geographical area, boosts the UK’s energy security and means that consumers can benefit from the strong winds available far out in the North Sea.”