RWE advances Sofia Offshore Wind Farm with first turbine foundation installation

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RWE has achieved a significant milestone in the construction of the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm by installing the project’s first turbine foundation. This marks the commencement of offshore construction within the wind farm array itself. The Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, boasting a capacity of 1.4 gigawatts (GW), is set to become RWE’s largest offshore wind project and is expected to provide enough electricity to power approximately 1.2 million typical UK homes upon its completion in 2026.

Milestone Achievement in Offshore Wind Development

The installation of the first of 100 foundations at the expansive 593km² Sofia array follows the successful deployment of the essential subsea cable infrastructure. The wind farm, located on Dogger Bank about 195 kilometers from the UK’s northeast coast, will feature Siemens Gamesa’s 14 megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbines, known for their advanced technology and efficiency.

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Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind, highlighted the significance of this milestone: “Installing the first monopile is a highly symbolic moment in the construction of every offshore wind farm. After 14 years of planning and preparation, this is a great achievement for the entire RWE team. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their contribution.”

The Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is slated for completion by the end of 2026, with each turbine towering 252 meters tall and equipped with a 108-meter carbon and fiberglass blade, capable of sweeping an area of 39,000 m². Notably, 44 of the project’s turbines will feature recyclable blades, underscoring RWE’s commitment to sustainability.

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Enhancing UK’s Energy Security and RWE’s Global Presence

RWE plays a pivotal role in supporting the UK’s Net Zero ambitions and enhancing energy security. The Sofia project is a testament to RWE’s commitment to expanding its offshore wind portfolio as part of its strategy to triple its global offshore wind capacity from 3.3 GW today to 10 GW by 2030.

The UK, aiming to achieve a build-out target of 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030, finds a strong partner in RWE, which currently operates 10 offshore wind farms in the region and is developing nine more, representing a potential installed capacity of around 9.8 GW.

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Operations and maintenance for Sofia will be based out of RWE’s new offshore wind operations hub, ‘Grimsby Hub’, which also supports other RWE projects like the Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm.

Van Oord, an international marine contractor, is pivotal in the installation process, using the vessel ‘Aeolus’ to install three foundations per cycle, a task demanding up to 16 hours of transit time per cycle. All 100 foundations are expected to be installed by spring 2025, following the installation of the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) export cable which commenced in 2023.

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