COUNTY NEWS: Sussex wind farm installation begins

Construction has begun to instal the first foundations of the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.

Rampion Windfarm - The first foundation installed Humber Gateway
Rampion Windfarm - The first foundation installed Humber Gateway

Rampion Offshore Wind Limited has announced that the project remains on schedule with the installation of the first turbine foundation due to start this week, despite adverse weather conditions.

Work to prepare the seabed for the 116 turbines began in September and the initial load of foundations arrived on site from the Netherlands last week.

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The offshore wind farm will be visible from several coastal viewing points, including Worthing beach, Brighton beach and Birling Gap cliff top.

The wind farm from the coast (Picture: Eddie Mitchell)

Construction of the first foundation in the northwest quadrant of the site is planned to begin this week.

The ongoing offshore construction work will be project managed from a temporary facility in Newhaven Port until the wind farm’s operations and maintenance base is completed in 2017.

Chris Tomlinson, E.ON development manager, said: “After almost six years of development, including community engagement, engineering and environmental surveys, it’s a really proud moment to finally be installing the first foundations.

“These foundations will be piled into the seabed and will act as a base for each of the 140m turbines, which we will start erecting in early 2017.

How the rigg looks from the coast (Picture: Eddie Mitchell)

“I’m pleased that our highly skilled team have been able to overcome the poor weather conditions that we’ve faced over the last few weeks and continue with the construction of the wind farm as planned.”

During the proposed three-year offshore construction period, it is estimated that 250 to 300 jobs would be created and local vessels would be utilised, with 40 roles being based at the project management facility in Newhaven Port.

It is envisaged that a workforce of up to 100 would be working on the onshore cable route, which will run through Brooklands in East Worthing, up to Bolney – while around 40 to 60 people would be employed at the onshore substation during the proposed two-year onshore construction.

In preparation for the foundation installation work, Rampion Offshore Wind Limited held an exhibition introducing sea users to the offshore construction plans.

Around 50 people attended from the fishing, diving and sailing community on Tuesday (January 12), which also included a Q&A session with the Rampion Project Team and Offshore Construction Manager.

The 400MW project, being built by E.ON, the UK Green Investment Bank and Canadian energy company Enbridge, 13km off the Sussex coast between Brighton and Lancing, remains set to become the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England.

The development is expected to supply the equivalent of up to 300,000 homes and to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 600,000 tonnes a year.

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