Seabed clearance starts in readiness for new wind farm

This subsea grab will be used to clear the boulders on the seabed in readiness for the Rampion wind farm installation
This subsea grab will be used to clear the boulders on the seabed in readiness for the Rampion wind farm installation
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WORK began at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm this week, in readiness for the first foundation installation in January.

The wind farm is being built 13k off the Sussex coast and is expected to be completed by 2018.

The work includes clearing boulders on the seabed along the cable route and around each of the 116 foundation positions to allow safe and effective installation.

Chris Tomlinson, E.ON development manager for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said: “After five years in development, following successful consultation, consent and contracting, we’re delighted to be able to confirm that work will commence this week to prepare the seabed for turbine installation.

“Assessment of the number of boulders is still underway but is likely to be in the thousands and up to six vessels will be on site to undertake the work over the next many months. Great efforts will be made to replicate the seabed as it is now and all boulders moved will be weighed and the new position recorded. Details of the new positions of the boulders will be made freely available to sea users. We will continue to issue Notices to Mariners to keep sea users informed of these works.”

This coincides with work commencing onshore, with the first of 12 stages of the onshore project which started in early September to the south of the Upper Brighton Road, Worthing. Access points will be constructed first to allow construction of a haul road along the cable route. This will be followed by trenching works to lay the ducting for the cables, and finally, the reinstatement of the ground. Work will start on building the onshore substation in Twineham towards the end of September.

“Throughout the Rampion project’s progress we’ve worked hard to keep the local community informed of our activities and over the last three months community events have been held at locations along the cable route in Lancing, Steyning, Henfield and Twineham, where we were pleased to be able to update over 500 local people of our construction plans,” added Chris.

When the turbines are fully complete in early 2018 the electricity cables will come ashore at the Brooklands Pleasure Park in Worthing and will transport power along 27km of underground cable to the substation at Twineham, where it will connect to the grid.

During the planned three-year offshore construction period it is estimated that around 250 to 300 jobs will be created. A workforce of up to 100 will be employed for the onshore cable route and around a further 40 to 60 people at the onshore substation during construction. Once the wind farm is commissioned and fully operational, it is envisaged that up to 65 full time permanent jobs will be created at the operations and maintenance base which will be advertised locally and will include two apprenticeship roles per year for at least three years.

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