Huge modules ready to sail

The modules at Heerema ready to sail
The modules at Heerema ready to sail

TWO huge modules are getting ready to set sail after being built at a Hartlepool yard.

The two substation structures will head out to the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm off the North Norfolk coastline.

Workers at the Heerema Hartlepool yard have spent more than a year building the platform topsides for the wind farm on behalf of owners Statoil (formerly StatoilHydro) and Statkraft.

Once it is completed, the 315 megawatt Sheringham Shoal wind farm will provide enough energy to power 220,000 British homes, while it will see a reduction of around 500,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The wind farm is expected to be completed this year and its 88 turbines will be supported by foundations secured to the sea bed.

It will cover an area of around 14 square miles and is expected to start production either later this year or in 2012.

Each of the Sheringham Shoal decks built in Hartlepool is 100ft-long and weighs around 1,000 tonnes.

A spokesman for Heerema confirmed: “Currently the two Sheringham Shoal modules have been loaded on the barge. At this moment, we are executing some final work on the modules before they sail away, which is expected at the end of April and early May.”

The Sheringham deal was the latest example of Heerema’s new-found status as a significant player in the wind energy sector.

In tandem with its sister company HFG Engineering, it has already successfully completed a contract for work on the UK’s first offshore wind farm substation, which was loaded out and positioned off the east coast of England in September last year.

The Sheringham deal – and another oil offshore contract – meant 1,000 jobs at the Hartlepool yard were secured.