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An overview of Sofia Offshore Wind Farm: Where the project is, what it comprises and how it works.
Wind Farm Site
Indicative Export Cable Corridor
National Grid Substation
Indicative Onshore Cable Route
In terms of components, the wind farm will comprise 100 turbines, an offshore converter station and hundreds of kilometres of both inter-array and export cables, as well as onshore electrical infrastructure.
A total of 100 turbines will be installed on site. They will be Siemens Gamesa 14MW machines, each standing 262 metres tall, that's just 50 metres less than the UK's tallest building, The Shard.
Each turbine will sit on a foundation that comprises a monopile and transition piece. The monopile is securely driven into the seabed.
OFFSHORE ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
A network of approximately 370 kilometres of inter-array cables will transport power from the turbines to the wind farm’s offshore converter platform. Here, at the heart of the wind farm, the electricity will be converted from 66kV alternating current to 320kV direct current. Two approximately 220 kilometre long export cables - forming a single high voltage direct current circuit - will bring the power from the wind farm to the Teesside coast.
ONSHORE ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Two 7km DC cables - forming a single high voltage direct current circuit - will carry power from landfall to a new converter station adjacent to the Wilton Complex, near the village of Lazenby. A further six 2km AC cables will transmit power to the existing National Grid substation at Lackenby.
Main contractors chosen as well as operations & maintenance port site
Final investment decision
Start of civils works / onshore construction
Manufacture of offshore components underway
Offshore construction begins
First power generated
HOW SOFIA TURNS WIND INTO ELECTRICITY
The wind blows at the wind farm site on Dogger Bank.
Sensors on top of each of Sofia’s wind turbines signal them to pivot, known as yaw, to ensure they face into the wind, while each blade is angled to produce the most lift force from the wind.
The blades are attached to the wind turbine via the hub. The hub is attached to a generator inside the nacelle, which also houses most of the turbine’s other electrical equipment.
The lift force from the wind energy on the blades causes the hub and generator of each turbine to turn.
The generator uses magnets to convert the rotational energy into electrical energy.
The electricity produced by each turbine is transmitted along array cables to the offshore converter platform.
The offshore converter platform converts the generated electricity from 66 kilovolts (kV) alternating current (AC) up to 320kV direct current (DC).
The electricity is transmitted 220 kilometres from the converter platform to shore along two offshore export cables. High voltage direct current cables are used to minimise transmission losses.
From shore, the power then goes 7km via buried cables to the onshore converter station near the village of Lazenby.
Here the electricity is converted into 400kV, a voltage that is suitable to enter the national grid.
It is then transmitted a further 2km, to the National Grid substation at Lackenby, from where it is distributed to homes, industry and businesses for use.