Offshore construction at the West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm, a 50/50 joint venture between DONG Energy and ScottishPower Renewables, is officially underway following the successful installation of the project’s offshore substation on site in the east Irish Sea.

The entire project will consist of 108 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 389MW, and is due to be fully completed in 2014.

The offshore substation was fabricated earlier this year and the installation was completed in two phases. A detailed operation was undertaken firstly to install the jacket foundation, including installation of four piles to secure it to the seabed. This was followed by installation of the topside module.

The substation is positioned within the 67km² site and will be linked to the 108 3.6MW turbines via a series of inter-array cables. At the offshore substation, the voltage from the turbines is increased and two export cables will then take the electricity ashore to the onshore substation at Heysham, where the wind farm is connected to the UK national grid.

Henrik Scheinemann, Programme Director at DONG Energy said: “The substation is really the heart of the wind farm, and  this installation marks the real start of offshore construction on the West of Duddon Sands project.  Over the coming months, foundations and transition pieces will start to be installed on site so it’s going to be a busy and exciting time for the everyone involved in the project.”

Charlie Jordan, ScottishPower Renewables Project Director, said: “The successful installation of the substation was a major engineering achievement. The entire kit is bespoke, designed to suit the specific project requirements at the West of Duddon Sands site, and the whole project team is delighted that we have successfully completed the first major milestone offshore.”

West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm is a 50/50 Joint Venture between DONG Energy and ScottishPower Renewables. DONG Energy has more than 20 years’ experience developing, constructing and operating wind farms across Northern Europe including Walney and Barrow offshore wind farms, and will operate the wind farm on behalf of the joint venture. ScottishPower Renewables is one of the largest onshore wind power developers in the UK and is part of the Iberdrola Group, the largest wind power company in the world.