Sembcorp Marine, GE Firm Up $826M Sofia Offshore Wind Farm Contract

March 29, 2021

Artist’s impression of Sofia Wind Farm’s HVDC offshore converter platform
Artist’s impression of Sofia Wind Farm’s HVDC offshore converter platform

Singapore's Sembcorp Marine and GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions have secured a firm contract from RWE Renewables for the supply to supply the high voltage direct current (HVDC) electrical transmission system for the Sofia offshore wind farm, in the UK.

The two companies began early design works for the project in July 2020, after being chosen as the preferred supplier of the HVDC electrical transmission system. The firm contract follows the £3 billion (USD 4,1 billion) final investment decision made by RWE last week on its 1.4 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind farm in the UK, its largest offshore wind project to date. 

Located on Dogger Bank, 195 km off the northeast coastline of UK in the central North Sea, Sofia covers an area of 593 square kilometers.

 With a capacity of 1.4 gigawatt (GW) that will power the equivalent of nearly 1.2 million UK homes with clean and renewable energy, Sofia will be one of the largest wind farms in the world when completed. 

Sembcorp Marine said Monday that the HVDC system represented Sofia’s second-largest contract and is worth approximately £600 million (~USD 826 million). 

The contract work scope comprises the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the offshore converter platform (OCP) and the onshore converter station (OCS), including all ancillary equipment. 

Sembcorp Marine’s scope of work includes the design, construction, installation, and commissioning of the offshore converter platform. 

The offshore converter platform, at the heart of the wind farm, comprises a 17,000-tonne topside and jacket foundation structure piled into the seabed 220 km from the nearest shore.

According to Sembcorp Marine, the offshore converter platform will be one of the most powerful and most remote offshore converter platforms ever built. Credit: RWE

Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables said: “Signing this contract with the consortium of GE’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine for the supply of Sofia’s HVDC electrical system reflects RWE’s strong commitment to innovation and to pushing the boundaries of what is capable within the sector. The 1.4GW Sofia project is our first to use the HVDC technology, which was selected to maximize the wind farm’s export capacity from a location so far from shore. 

"We are delighted to be working with such a strong pairing on the delivery of this flagship project located on the remote Dogger Bank, in the middle of the North Sea.”

Samuel Wong, Head of Sembcorp Marine Offshore Platforms said: “Sembcorp Marine is excited to work on this mega-project with GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solution to support RWE Renewables’ Sofia Offshore Wind Farm project to augment its supply of wind energy in the UK.” 

"We are grateful to RWE for its vote of confidence in Sembcorp Marine’s capabilities and outstanding track record of delivering offshore platforms to major field developments in Europe and Asia. As we move from early design work to the next phase of this groundbreaking project, we are committed to drive design, engineering and operational excellence and deep value creation for our customer, added  Wong. 

“As the HVDC consortium leader for the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, we are excited to move ahead with this project,” said Raj Iyer, Grid Integration Leader at GE’s Grid Solutions. “

"The award of Sofia and operational success of DolWin3 offshore wind HVDC last year are evidence that GE’s Voltage Source Converter technology is now well established, and that GE has the ability to commercially deliver on this latest and most advanced HVDC technology.’’ 

Sembcorp Marine President & CEO, Wong Weng Sun said: “In keeping with the global shift towards a cleaner and greener energy mix, Sembcorp Marine has proactively diversified into cleaner, greener, and renewable energy solutions since 2015. We have made strategic investments to augment our world-class assets, engineering talent, and technological bench strength to position Sembcorp Marine in the center of the fundamental shift to a low-carbon economy.” 

Construction of the offshore converter platform by Sembcorp Marine will start this year with delivery and installation at the Wind Farm site in 2023.

As for the wind turbines, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will supply 100 of its giant 14 MW offshore wind turbines (SG 14-222 DD), for which RWE says is the most advanced offshore wind turbine technology available. 

Final project completion is expected by the fourth quarter of 2026.

Credit: RWE



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