The completion of Britain’s largest offshore Wind Farm will be delayed by an entire year due to a chronic lack of construction vessels.
According to the developer of Dogger Bank, SSE, it has been affected by significant disruption due to bad weather, storms, and a shortage of vessels capable of building it.
The two most important ship types are short-supplied – the foundation vessels, which pour the 1,000-tonne-foundations and the installation vessels, which install the turbines.
A SSE spokesman said: “The installation of turbines on Dogger Bank A was impacted by difficult weather conditions, with vessel availability and delays in the supply chain further affecting progress.
The likelihood of full operation not being achieved before 2025 is increasing following notification of additional vessel unavailability in the coming weeks, but this is unlikely to have a material impact on project returns.
The business works closely with its partners in the supply chain to improve current installation rates of turbines. A further update will be provided on progress in May.
SSE warned investors when it released its results for the last three months of 2023.
The company stated that it would deliver earnings per share to investors of 150p, which was less than expected after the output of renewable energy came in at 15pc lower than expectations.
Dogger Bank is a group of sandbanks that spans UK, German and Dutch waters in the Southern North Sea. The site is ideal for wind turbine installation because of its relatively shallow water, which ranges between 60 and 200 foot depths.
SSE Renewables has developed the project in three stages, Dogger Bank B, A and C. The project is located between 81-118 miles away from the nearest English coast. Dogger Bank A is due to be completed between 2023 and 2024, and Dogger Bank B about a year after. The entire development should be completed in 2026.
They will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world with a capacity of 3.6 Gigawatts. This is enough power to run 6 million homes. The wind farm will be operated by SSE partner Equinor and have a life expectancy of 35 years.
The shortage of wind farm construction ships is a growing problem around the world. The Danish energy company Orsted made the surprise decision in November to cancel the construction of two offshore wind farms near New Jersey. This was due to the long delays it took to secure the vessel needed for the project.
According to a recent report by Allianz Commercial, the global wind industry needs to spend $20bn for 200 new wind farm installations vessels.
The industry’s biggest change in recent times is the size of the wind turbines.
In the past 20 years, they have nearly quadrupled their height from 70m/230ft up to 260m/853ft. This is almost three times higher than the Statue of Liberty.
“The rotor diameters of the wind turbines have grown five-fold over the last 30 years.” The increasing size of wind turbines is causing a corresponding increase in exposures. This includes the need for larger machinery, vessels, and components.
The majority of the specialist vessels are currently based in Europe. A larger fleet will be needed to support global deployment. Port facilities must be expanded urgently to accommodate an increase in the number of vessels.
SSE was created by merging power companies in the UK. SSE now provides power to customers in the southern England areas of Portsmouth and Isle of Wight, as well communities in northern Scotland such as Shetland.
The company owns high-voltage transmission lines in the north of Scotland, including the Scottish Islands. It also has a fleet consisting of 10 gas-fired energy stations located both in Scotland and England.
This is the latest setback in the UK’s efforts to switch to low-carbon electricity.
These plans were hampered by the massive delays caused by the construction of Hinkley Point C, a nuclear power plant that was supposed to be operational in three years. Instead it is now scheduled for 2030.
Sizewell C is the only nuclear power station that has been built.
Due to delays in the expansion of the National Grid, many wind turbines are forced to be turned off when the wind is too strong.