UK’s Greater Gabbard wind farm fully operational

All 140 turbines at the 500 MW Greater Gabbard wind farm in the UK have now been commissioned, says operator SSE.

The wind farm in the Thames Estuary is run by SEE and RWE npower renewables under the umbrella company Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited (GGOWL), with both firms holding a 50 per cent stake.

Jim Smith, managing director of renewables at SSE said the commissioning of the turbines was “a major milestone”.

“Greater Gabbard is now a substantial operating asset that is already contributing a significant amount of electricity to help meet the UK's low carbon energy objectives."

However GGOWL remains in a dispute with Fluor, the principal contractor for the wind farm.

The dispute relates to quality issues GGOWL has with 52 upper foundations (transition pieces) supporting the turbines and 35 lower foundations supporting the same turbines. GGOWL states that it has issues regarding “the ability of the structures to operate for their entire design life”. 

A statement said: “In line with a prudent approach to safety, GGOWL has established a number of risk control measures, including access restrictions, in relation to the 52 foundations to enable these turbines to be able to generate electricity.”

Smith added: “The issues with regard to some of the turbine foundations are well known, and we are continuing our effort to secure a satisfactory resolution to them through a process of arbitration.”

All of Greater Gabbard’s 140 have been manufactured by Siemens. Power from the wind farm is brought onshore by three 45km-long cables which link to the national transmission network at Sizewell, Suffolk.

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