Dogger Bank, UK — 9 GW
Offshore wind power projects have the advantages of vast areas in which to set up shop and the capability to benefit from steadier and faster winds. The largest of these proposed projects is the Dogger Bank development, which is part three of the UK’s offshore wind licensing program. Dogger Bank will have a massive target installation capacity of 9 gigawatts with potential to expand to 13 gigawatts
The project will be directed by Forewind, a consortium of major energy companies including Scottish and Southern Energy, subsidiaries of RWE, Statoil and Statkraft. The consortium won the license to develop the Dogger Bank zone in January. The area of the site is 3343 square miles with turbines ranging 77 to 150 miles from shore. The depths of Dogger Bank range between 59 and 206 feet. The unrivaled size, the distance from shore, and the area’s depth present several logistical challenges. They include the actual construction of the project and the subsequent connection to the grid.
Due to the challenges involved in the undertaking, the project will take years to get started and then several more years to complete. To those points, Forewind has yet to target a date to go online and doesn’t plan to make its first investment decisions on the project until 2014.
Rated for nine gigawatts, Dogger Bank is massive project, especially when compared to current and proposed wind farms. The largest wind farm of any kind is the 782-megawatt onshore wind farm in Roscoe, Texas, which completed its fourth phase under the direction E.ON Climate and Renewables in October 2009.
The recently approved Cape Wind project will be the first offshore wind project in the U.S. Cape Wind will be rated to produce up to 468 megawatts of wind power with each turbine producing up to 3.6 megawatts. It is anticipated that Cape Wind will produce enough power to cover about three quarters of the electricity demand for Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
The scale of the Dogger Bank project will require cutting edge engineering combined with construction equipment built to take on greater challenges than the current offshore wind projects present. For example, the Resolution, a charter specifically built to anchor offshore wind turbines, is able to anchor the turbines at depths down to 59 feet. Coincidentally, that is the shallowest depth at Dogger Bank, meaning that anchoring capabilities will have to be extended by another 150 feet to anchor turbines in the area. Allowing time for this kind of upgrade may be one of the reasons that Forewind is willing to wait another four years to start their budgeting process.
Author Anthony Ricigliano