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New generation jack-up vessel arrives in the UK for first job at Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm

posted on September 1, 2012 categories New Contracts

A NEW offshore wind farm installation vessel, the first of its kind in the UK, arrived at Cammell Laird Shipyard in Birkenhead on Saturday (1 September) in preparation for its first operational activity at Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm.

The new generation jack-up vessel, named Friedrich Ernestine, has been built and designed by RWE Innogy to install wind turbines across its European offshore portfoilio.

At 100 metres long and 49 metres wide, the vessel is one of the largest of its kind in the world, capable of transporting and installing up to three wind turbine foundations or four turbines (tower, nacelle and three blades) in the multi-megawatt category.

RWE npower renewables’ Gwynt y Môr Project Director, Toby Edmonds said: “The Friedrich Ernestine is a hugely impressive vessel which will become a regular visitor to both the River Mersey and the north Wales coast for its first operational duties at Gwynt y Mor.

“The Friedrich Ernestine will install wind turbine foundations, carrying three sets of components consisting of a monopile and transition piece on each trip in and out of our base harbour port facility in Birkenhead.

“She will work alongside the heavy lift vessel, Stanislav Yudin, currently installing wind turbine foundations more than eight miles off the north Wales coast.

“For the time being she’s going into a dry dock at Cammell Laird for final fit out (with sea fastening and grillages) before undertaking further sea-trials.”

The €100m EURO vessel has been designed and built in both South Korea and Europe and represents a significant investment into the offshore renewables sector.

The Friedrich Ernestine is one of two vessels built by RWE Innogy.

Its sister vessel, Victoria Mathias, is working on RWE’s other major European offshore wind project, “Nordsee Ost” around 30 kilometres north of the island of Heligoland, Germany.

Both vessels have been fitted with state of the art technology. A satellite-controlled navigation system will position the vessel precisely at centimetre accuracy for the construction works at sea.

It has extendible steel beams that fix it securely to the seabed, and a crane with 1,000 tons of lifting capacity. At the offshore construction site, the vessel turns into a jack-up rig, from which foundations and wind turbines can be installed.

The final fit out for Friedrich Ernestine will be completed at Cammell Laird.

Cammell Laird Managing Director Linton Roberts said: “The arrival of this new generation vessel marks a significant moment for Cammell Laird showcasing our ability to work at the forefront of the wind energy sector. Working in partnership with the RWE on site team, the vessel will on arrival undergo works at the yard to mobilise her with project specific equipment to start her extremely important work in the Irish Sea.

“This work is part of a much broader project to support the construction and longer term operation of the Gwynt y Môr wind farm, throughout its lifespan of at least 25 years. The contract enforces our strong commitment to the renewables market and our desire to undertake complex and demanding projects.

“Cammell Laird is now in a robust position to take a leading role in Britain’s wind energy revolution. We have a unique blend of first class infrastructure, skills, land and location. Furthermore, we have invested heavily in our facilities to support the assembly, storage and mobilisation of all the components required for the installation of a windfarm.”