Unmanned platform powers world’s largest offshore wind farm

The platform will be solely accessed by a vessel – it receives 1.2GW of AC power from 95 offshore wind turbines at Dogger Bank A

The world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, has installed the world’s first unmanned High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) offshore substation.

The innovative platform is the first of three platforms to be installed at the site in three 1.2GW phases known as A, B, and C. Dogger Bank Wind Farm, a joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor, and Vårgrønn.

The platform sits at a water depth of around 28 metres, approximately 146 kilometres from the nearest point of land at Flamborough Head, near Bridlington in East Riding of Yorkshire.

The platform is operated from shore, accessed only by a Service Operations Vessel, and will receive 1.2GW of AC power from 95 offshore wind turbines and convert it to DC, which will then be transmitted ashore to an onshore converter station near Beverley in East Riding of Yorkshire.

The platform’s unmanned nature has allowed the removal of elements such as living quarters, helideck, and sewage systems, resulting in a 70% reduction in weight per MW for offshore platforms compared to previous platforms installed.

SSE said the cost savings from the innovative design run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Olly Cass, Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, hailed the platform’s installation as a significant milestone for the project and the UK industry, expressing confidence in the progress made towards the installation of turbine foundations and the subsequent transmission of first power in the summer.

Once completed, the wind farm will be capable of generating 3.6GW of renewable energy, enough to power over six million homes.

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