offshore wind farm

RWE has selected a consortium of GE Renewable Energy Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine to provide an energy transmission system for its 1.4GW Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.

The consortium will supply equipment and services for the wind farm project’s high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system.

Sofia, one of the world’s largest offshore wind farm projects, located on Dogger Bank, the shallow area of the central North Sea, 195 kilometres from the UK coast’s nearest point.

The Sofia wind farm has an installed capacity of more than 9.5GW and will be operated via its subsidiary, RWE Renewables.

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GE’s Grid Solutions will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of two HVDC converter stations capable of transmitting 1,400MW of power at 320 kilovolts (kV). Innovative converter modules and a new high-tech control system have been deployed for Sofia.

It will be the most powerful offshore converter station ever fabricated and will be installed at a point 220 kilometres from shore.

The offshore converter platform will be built and installed by Sembcorp Marine. At the heart of the wind farm, it will comprise a 10,000 tonnes topside attached to a jacket foundation piled into the seabed. The onshore converter station will convert the electricity generated by the wind farm to 400kV, before it enters the national grid.

GE’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine are starting early design works in July, with the full contract subject to the project’s final investment decision, due in the first quarter of 2021.

The HVDC transmission system represents Sofia’s second-largest contract and will include the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the offshore converter platform and the onshore converter station, including all ancillary equipment.

Construction of the wind farm is due to begin onshore at its Teesside converter station site early next year, with offshore construction expected to get underway in 2023. 

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Sven Utermöhlen, the chief operating officer of wind offshore global of RWE Renewables, said: “RWE is the second biggest player in offshore wind globally. And we are geared for further growth – strategically, with our projects and staff, as well as financially. By 2022, we want to invest €5 billion net in the continued expansion of renewable energy. With the innovative technology solutions we have chosen for Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, we have prepared the ground for the realisation of what is one of our largest development projects.”