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Moray East Bold Tern And Blue Tern By Henrik Dahl4

The Moray East Offshore Wind project gathers pace

Back in May 2019, we announced our contract with Vestas for the transport and installation of one hundred V164-9.5MW wind turbines for the Moray East offshore wind farm project in Scotland. Having now successfully completed several of the first installations, we thought it was time to give you a full update…

“Moray East has given us a welcomed opportunity to showcase our capabilities and expertise in handling large wind turbines.

So far everything has gone extremely smoothly, and we are ready to move forwards in completing this milestone project.”

Co-operation breeds excellence

Fred. Olsen Windcarrier has worked together with Vestas on multiple offshore wind projects over the last few years, including the installation of more than 100 V164 turbines in the North Sea in 2018. However, Moray East is the first installation project where Fred. Olsen Windcarrier was contracted directly by Vestas.

Not your average wind farm

The new wind farm is located at Moray Firth, 22km off the east coast of Scotland, using Global Energy’s facility at Port of Nigg as the onshore pre-assembly port. The project is being developed by Moray Offshore Windfarm East Ltd., which is a joint venture company owned by Ocean Winds (56.6%), Diamond Green Limited (33.4%), and CTG (10%).

The Moray East project is something special. Covering 295km2 in total, the offshore windfarm’s 950MW turbines will have a blade-tip height of 204m that will generate power at less than half the price generated by some of the other offshore windfarms under construction today. This represents a step-change in the delivery of renewable power in terms of cost and scale and will provide an abundant supply of low-carbon, low-cost electricity for more than 1,000,000 UK households and save 1.7m tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

A chance to stretch our wings

For Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, Moray East offers another opportunity to showcase our capabilities and expertise in handling large wind turbines. For this project, the turbines are being installed by Bold Tern, one of our highly versatile and flexible jack-up vessels.

With an 800-tonne wrap-around-the-leg crane (which will be upgraded to a 1600t crane on one of the two Gusto vessels) and 3200m2 open deck space, the vessels can transport, lift, and install any turbine on the market today. Their DP2-class type dynamic positioning system and Voith Schneider propulsion system provide secure and accurate positioning, and up to 80 people in 56 cabins can enjoy high-quality accommodation onboard, while helidecks make for easy transfers during offshore operations.

Progress so far

  • Project development commenced in 2010 when development rights were won in the UK’s 3rd round of offshore wind licencing. The Moray Firth Zone (Zone 1) was split into two, Moray East and Moray West. For technical reasons, Moray East was developed first.
  • In 2014, planning consent was awarded by the Scottish Government for offshore works and by Aberdeenshire Council for onshore works. In 2017, a 950MW Contract for Difference (CfD) was won in the UK Government’s 2nd competitive CfD auction (the CfD provides a contract for electricity for 15 years at £57.50/MWhr), and a year later all agreements achieved a financial close.
  • In December 2020, Moray East announced the completion of jacket installation, with 100 three-legged steel foundations installed on the seabed. Turbine components arrived in the Moray Firth, where they were stored and preserved. Pre-assembly work was undertaken at Global Energy’s facility at Nigg, where the turbine components were loaded onto Bold Tern.
  • On 15 January 2021, the team working on Bold Tern installed the first one of the hundred 9.5MW turbines, and by 26 January the vessel returned to the Port of Nigg after completing the fourth turbine installation.

This has demanded precision engineering with massive components, requiring excellent co-operation and coordination between a range of companies both on land and at sea, and I would like to offer my thanks and congratulations to all those who have made this most distinctive and visible milestone possible.

- Enrique Alvarez Cordobes, Moray East’s Head of Construction [source: Moray East]

Moray East has given us a welcomed opportunity to showcase our capabilities and expertise in handling large wind turbines. So far everything has gone extremely smoothly, and we are ready to move forwards in completing this milestone project. We are proud to be such an integral part of Scotland’s clean energy solution, and we look forward to supporting the industry with similar projects in the future.

- Casper Toft, Chief Commercial Officer, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier