Dutch geotechnical services firm Fugro has said that its Fugro Pioneer vessel has left the Port of Sunderland in the UK earlier this month to begin a 6-month offshore site investigation and survey campaign for innogy's Sofia offshore wind farm.
The 1.4 gigawatt (GW) Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, sited on the shallow central area of the North Sea known as Dogger Bank, is the largest project in innogy SE’s current development portfolio.
"Fugro will provide geophysical and geotechnical services over the project’s 220 km export cable corridor, in what is believed to be one of the longest cable route surveys ever performed for an offshore wind farm, as well as further works on the wind farm array," the company said.
The objective of Fugro’s site investigation is to comprehensively characterize subsurface conditions along the cable route corridor to better understand the benthic ecology and offshore archaeology of the site, and to enable detailed design for the proposed wind farm, which is located 195 km off the coast of north-east England.
The site investigation will include surveys performed from five vessels and will be complemented with a full suite of conventional and advanced laboratory testing, Fugro said.
As well as Fugro Pioneer, geophysical survey data will be acquired using the Fugro Frontier and Fugro Seeker; two of Fugro’s geotechnical vessels will then follow to provide drilling, and seabed sampling and in situ testing.
"Once the Geo-data is acquired, Fugro will produce a ground model for innogy that will provide standardized datasets and interpretation in a clearly identifiable and easy-to-access format," Fugro said.
"For Fugro, this project is an exciting opportunity for multiple vessels and multidisciplinary project teams to work together to provide an excellent service to iInnogy and support the Sofia team in achieving its objectives from the outset,” said Sally Dalrymple, Senior Project Manager for Fugro.
According to info on innogy's website, on the current program, the onshore civil works for Sofia are set to start in 2021 along with the fabrication of the wind farm components. Offshore construction is due to start in 2022.
In terms of components, the wind farm could comprise up to 200 turbines, offshore converter stations and hundreds of kilometers of both inter-array and export cables, as well as onshore electrical infrastructure.