Peterhead, a port on Scotland’s northeast coast, will host the staging for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, a groundbreaking test and demonstration facility just north of Aberdeen.
The 11-turbine facility will be the largest ever built with suction-bucket foundations, which are intended to greatly lower the cost of installing turbine towers on soft seabottoms. The giant plunger-shaped buckets at the bottom of the foundation sink into the sediment at the bottom; pulling them back out creates a powerful vacuum, which holds them in place, even in the rough conditions of the North Sea.
The farm will employ Vestas V164-8MW turbines, the world's largest and most powerful. The 93-megawatt farm will yield first electricity next summer and should have enough capacity to power about a quarter of Aberdeen's total demand. It will be in operation for 20 years.
To support its construction, Peterhead will host contractors with Boskalis and energy firm Vattenfall for four months, along with one of the world's biggest loating cranes. A Boskalis project director said that Peterhead was selected in part for its 3,000 meters of deepwater berthing and its sheltered waters, which are both favorable for heavy lift operations alongside the pier.
Peterhead Port CEO Ian Laidlaw welcomed the project as a valuable opportunity to continue the port's 50-year history in the UK energy industry.
“We are sure the sheer scale and prominence of the pioneering technology and work involved with the EOWDC will create a positive renewables momentum for the region putting the north-east at the centre of international offshore wind innovation," said Vattenfall project director Adam Ezzamel in a statement.
Vattenfall has also made investments with the nearby Aberdeen Harbour Board for a construction facility and a warehouse, which will support the wind farm throughout its lifespan.