A wind farm development off the coast of Blyth has reached a notable milestone, with the first turbine foundation making its journey up the River Tyne on route to its final destination. EDF Energy Renewables is currently building the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Wind Farm after taking over responsibility for the scheme from Narec (now ORE Catapult) in October 2014.

Concrete gravity based foundations (GBFs) form part of the project and are being installed using a new ‘float and submerge’ method – the first time this method has been used for offshore wind turbines. Designed and built by Royal BAM Group in the Neptune dry dock on the Tyne, the GBFs are being floated into position at sea and submerged onto the seabed to provide the support structures that act as the foundations for the installation of the wind turbines.

Each GBF is made up of more than 1800m3 of concrete and weighs over 15,000 tonnes when fully installed on the seabed. The structures have a total height of around 60 metres from the base to theaccess platform.

Once the GBFs are put into position over the summer, specialist contractor VBMS will start laying the inter array cables that will connect the individual wind turbines.

Installation of five MHI Vestas V164 turbines will then commence once the cable is securely buried on the sea bed. The turbines will have a power rating of 8.3MW – the largest to be used on an offshore wind farm. It is anticipated that the turbines will start generating power by the end of the year.