Four vessels to undertake latest tranche of Sofia site investigation

  • 11 May 2020

Four vessels to undertake latest tranche of Sofia site investigation

A fleet of four survey vessels will undertake the latest tranche of Sofia Offshore Wind Farm’s six-month offshore site investigation as part of the project’s continued preparation for construction of the 1.4GW project.

Sofia, the largest project in innogy’s development portfolio and one of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms, is due to start construction onshore in early 2021 and offshore in 2023.

Two vessels - multi-purpose vessel Despina and survey vessel Fugro Scout - will complete the site investigation work on the 593 km2 wind farm array site located on Dogger Bank, in the North Sea.

Together they will carry out the latest geotechnical surveys on the wind farm site itself following on from those undertaken earlier this year.

All the information gathered will be used to fine tune the array design as well as determine the installation of the turbine foundations, array cables and the offshore converter platform.

The other two vessels – coastal survey vessels Fugro Seeker and Fugro Mercator – will work close to shore as they carry out geophysical surveys along the nearshore export cable corridor just off the coast of Redcar, Teesside. Building on the results of the already completed export cable route surveys undertaken earlier by Fugro Pioneer and Despina, they will collect data that will inform both the design of the export cable and the installation methodology.

These vessels full campaign is expected to be completed by July, weather permitting, and a local guard vessel will support the activity.

Sofia Senior Project Manager, Damien Fensome said: “The survey data will be analysed to enable our consent and engineering teams to fully understand the complex geological and geotechnical conditions of the seafloor and subsurface along the cable corridor and on the wind farm site itself”.

“The health of the survey teams is our priority during the current COVID-19 situation so we have worked closely with our service provider Fugro to ensure compliance with Government guidelines and corporate policy in relation to the health, safety and welfare of employees,” he said. “With these measures in place it means we are able to continue our survey operations in an effort to maintain the construction schedule for this significant project, which represents a £3 billion investment into renewble energy infrastructure and a welcome boost for the UK economy.”

Further site investigation work is due to start in July with a jack-up barge set to carry out nearshore borehole surveys along the export cable route at the landfall between Redcar and Marske-by-the-Sea.