It’s safe to say that the Beatrice project has come a long way since reaching the final investment decision in May 2016. Whilst the foundations for the successful delivery of the project were laid in 2016, 2017 was the year that the project really started to ‘come to life’ in the Moray Firth.
In the past twelve months, the Beatrice project team installed all offshore pile clusters, over a third of jacket substructures and over 60 kilometers of subsea cabling. Over in Blackhillock, the team working on our substation moved from the civil construction phase to the installation of the electrical and mechanical infrastructure which will form the two circuits of the wind farm transmission system.
On top of that, in Wick, home to our long-term operations and maintenance base, we completed the first phase of our renovation works and began to rework the disused corner of the harbor in readiness for the arrival of the Crew Transfer Vessels which will service the operational wind farm.
The team is now focused on preparing for what will be the biggest milestone of 2018 – the first generation of renewable electricity from the wind farm. Expected in July 2018, the generation of first electricity is the fruition of the hard work of thousands of people and many thousands of man hours and is the first step on the wind farms final journey towards completion in 2019. But, there remains a lot to do before then; commissioning the Blackhillock substation, completing the subsea and onshore cabling, energizing the transmission system, completing jacket installation and erecting the first of the 84 turbines.
In amongst all this construction activity, the fabrication and manufacturing facilities servicing the project will continue to play an important role as they work to complete the manufacture of the main infrastructure components, including the production of the turbine components, with the blades being manufactured at Siemens’ Hull site. And, of course, this year will see the Beatrice team moving into their home for the next 25 years; the Wick Operations and Maintenance base.
It’s exciting to think that we will be working on our 84-turbine offshore wind farm in buildings that were originally developed in 1807 by renowned Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. Telford created a lasting legacy with his works and, whilst we could never compete with his achievements, Beatrice will deliver a lasting legacy for the communities close to the wind farm and for the UK offshore renewables industry. We would also like to thank the Wickers for their patience, goodwill and support while we have been working in the area.
We’re proud of the work we’re doing to build Beatrice and if you want to see what we’re up to, please follow our Twitter feed (@beatricewind).
By: Steve Wilson, Beatrice Project Manager