Dogger Bank wind farm partners unveil unmanned HVDC platform

Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, a joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni, will feature the world’s first unmanned high voltage direct current (HVDC) offshore substation, built by a Norwegian engineering company Aibel.

Dogger Bank will also be the first offshore wind project in the UK to use HVDC technology to transmit the electricity produced back to shore. Upon first installation in Dogger Bank A during 2023, the project’s HVDC facility will become the largest-ever at 1.2 GW, marking a scale up from the previous industry benchmark of 0.8 GW.

Removing the need for personnel to stay on the platform meant it was then possible to eliminate elements such as the living quarters, helideck and sewage systems, resulting in a 70% reduction in weight (per megawatt) of the topside compared to previous platforms installed, SSE Renewables explained.

Jon Kippenes, offshore platform manager for Dogger Bank, said: “As the first project to do this in the UK we were faced with potentially high costs and uncertainty, but by taking learnings from unmanned installation in oil and gas, and working closely with our supplier we have designed an innovative and safe platform with huge reductions in weight. This of course lowers the cost for this project, but also sets a new standard for offshore HVDC platforms. The Dogger Bank transmission concept was turned from being the project’s Achilles heel into a competitive edge.”

It is expected that re-use of design and execution method may give significant benefits to future HVDC projects of similar transmission capacity.

When complete in 2026, the wind farm will become the biggest in the world, able to produce enough electricity to power around 5% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Dogger Bank A and B is a jointly-owned between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni (20%). Dogger Bank C is a 50:50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.

Norway’s Equinor will operate Dogger Bank on completion for its lifetime of up to 35 years.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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