COUNTY NEWS: 2,000-tonne substation installed at Rampion wind farm

The the installation of the 2,000 tonne offshore substation at Rampion, situated 14 kilometres off the Sussex coast.  Picture: Alan O'Neill
The the installation of the 2,000 tonne offshore substation at Rampion, situated 14 kilometres off the Sussex coast. Picture: Alan O'Neill

A major landmark – or rather, seamark – has been reached in the Rampion offshore wind farm project with the installation of a 2,000 tonne substation.

After taking two years to design and build, the offshore substation was transported by sea from the Firth of Forth in Scotland to the wind farm, 14 kilometres off the Sussex coast, via Southampton Port.

It was installed on Monday using a heavy lift vessel called the Rambiz and two cranes with a combined capacity of 3,300 tonnes. Work to weld the topside to the foundation will be completed in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the cranes’ much smaller cousin Moby Dig – the stranded digger named by readers in our poll – is still languishing in the sea by Lancing beach, and has been adopted by a kitesurfing group.

The main role of the newly-installed substation is to transform the electricity generated by the turbines from 33 kilovolts (kV) to 150 kV. The structure will be connected to the 116 turbines through a network of underwater cables.

The turbine installation began last month and to date eight are now fully installed. Click here for a step-by-step view of how the first turbine was installed. The turbine installations will continue this year, with the project due to be finished and operational in 2018.

Chris Tomlinson, manager for the Rampion offshore wind farm, said: “The offshore substation is the largest and most complex component of the wind farm to be installed offshore and a great amount of skill was required by the engineers, crane operators and vessel operators, to lift and position the 2,000 tonne structure into place.

“We are delighted to have reached this important step in the construction process.”

When complete, the wind farm will provide enough electricity to supply almost 347,000 homes a year, equivalent to around

half the homes in Sussex.

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