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Final jacket put in place in Moray East wind farm scheme; Global Energy's Nigg yard amongst contributors to massive energy project

By John Davidson

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The final jacket foundation is lifted into position at sea.
The final jacket foundation is lifted into position at sea.

The Moray East wind farm took a decisive step towards completion at the end of December as the final 'jacket' was put in place in the Moray Firth.

The jackets are the three-legged steel foundations on which the wind turbines and offshore substations are installed.

The 103rd and final installation took place on Monday, December 28, with 100 jackets for the turbines and three for platforms for associated substation infrastructure.

Once complete, the offshore wind farm – being built in the Outer Moray Firth close to the existing Beatrice wind farm – will have a capacity of 950MW, enough energy to power up to 950,000 UK homes.

The GSMEC – Geosea Smulders Moray East Consortium – a joint venture between DEME Offshore and Smulders, was awarded the contract to supply and install all 103 jackets and piles required for the Moray East project.

The majority of the jackets (55) for the wind turbine foundations have been fabricated by Smulders using facilities across Europe, including Belgium, Poland, Spain and Portugal, with fabrication and final assembly conducted at Smulders’ Wallsend facility in Newcastle.

The final jacket foundation installed at sea as part of the Moray East development.
The final jacket foundation installed at sea as part of the Moray East development.

All the completed jackets were shipped by sea to Global Energy’s facility at Nigg, from where they were prepared for installation on site in the Moray Firth by the Seajack installation vessel Scylla.

Moray East project director Marcel Sunier said: “Today’s achievement is remarkable given the challenges of Covid-19, winter weather and knock-on impacts to the global supply chain and travel. Despite that, the last jacket structures were assembled at Newcastle and barged to Nigg last week. With the focus and dedication of all involved the team were able to install the 103rd and final jacket safely.

“There are many people involved in delivering this milestone. I would like to thank all of those who have made this possible, including the circa 500 staff at Smulders yard in Newcastle and the team at Global Energy’s facility at Nigg.

"We now look forward to 2021, the wind turbine pre-assembly in the Cromarty Firth and their subsequent safe installation at sea and energisation of the entire infrastructure, allowing the export of clean and affordable electricity, doing our part to contribute to a sustainable future."

First power is expected to be produced from Moray East in 2021 with completion of the project in 2022.

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