Spanish energy company Iberbrola, through its UK subsidiary ScottishPower Renewables, has awarded contracts worth €18m ($22m) as the first step towards building a 400 MW offshore wind farm in German waters.
The 80-turbine Wikinger wind farm would be the largest project of its kind located in water depths of over 40 metres.
ScottishPower Renewables has hired British company Gardline and GEO of Denmark to conduct a full geological survey of the Baltic Sea area where the wind farm will be built in order to determine what type of foundations are required.
The companies will employ specially designed vessels to take stratigraphic samples of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, requiring 63-metre boreholes to be drilled. They will also conduct seismic surveys using sound waves to determine the structure of the terrain.
Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The start of sub-surface drilling is a crucial stage of the project, paving the way for construction of one of the largest deep-water offshore wind farms in the world.
“The outcome of geotechnical testing will provide us with valuable data on conditions of the seabed, which will directly determine the construction and design of the piles supporting the giant wind turbines”.