It’s full sail ahead for wind farm

A FAST-developing offshore wind farm is about to take its next step towards reality.

The turbine sections for the Teesside Offshore Wind Farm are now arriving at the Port of Hartlepool which is acting as the supply base for the project.

Bosses say they are making good progress on the scheme which should see the first electricity generated by this autumn.

Tim Bland, project manager for Teesside Offshore Windfarm, said: “Since starting the installation of the monopoles in early February we’ve maintained good progress and are ready to begin the second phase of work.

“The remaining work should not cause any inconvenience to local residents. The first turbine is likely to be fitted in late summer with electricity being generated from the wind farm beginning in the autumn.”

Operator EDF Energy Renewables has now completed the work to install the monopile foundations for the 27 turbines that will form the wind farm, which will be seen clearly from Seaton Carew. Preparations are being made for the next phase of activity that will see the installation of the above sea level turbines and the associated subsea cabling.

The 2.3MW turbines will be capable of producing 62 megawatts of electricity which is enough low carbon energy to power up to 40,000 households.

The next stage of construction will see yellow T-shaped sections installed to link the structure between the foundations and the turbine towers, and also house the access ladders, platform and cable termination points.

The turbine towers will then be installed and the main turbine operating body (the nacelle), the rotor hub and the blades will be fitted.

The turbines are being delivered in batches over the next few weeks to the project supply base in Hartlepool.

The wind farm is being built in three rows, each with nine turbines, in a configuration to maximise the energy available from the prevailing winds.

Once the wind farm is operational, an exclusion zone of around 150ft will be established around each turbine. The spacing between the turbines will not be less than around 900ft and there will be 1,800ft between rows.

Bosses say this should ensure that leisure craft and fishing boats can to pass safely between them and they say there will no effect on surfing and other water activities from Redcar beach.

The scheme faced opposition when Seaton Carew woman Janet Holmes, 63, complained there had not been enough consultation on the plan.

Mrs Holmes says she was not informed by the company that the site would be seen from her seafront home in Station Lane.

But EDF Energy claimed it has done its “utmost” to inform residents including circulating leaflets, establishing a website and informing town councillors.