FoundOcean and East Anglia ONE
Our CEO, Jim Bell, talks about how our expertise and adaptability were a key part of the success of the East Anglia ONE project – a project which will significantly improve green energy production in the UK.
What is the East Anglia ONE Project?
East Anglia ONE is a windfarm in the North Sea, 43km off the shore of the East Anglian coast and covering an area of 300km2, roughly the size Edinburgh. The site consists of 102 Siemens wind turbines. The project is a joint venture between ScottishPower and the Green Investment Group. These companies and their contractors managed to complete the project in 2020, on time, even under the restrictions of COVID-19.
East Anglia ONE is the first of four planned wind farms that will make up the East Anglia Offshore Wind Zone. There has been a huge investment in the area, particularly at the Port of Lowestoft but also Peel Ports, Great Yarmouth, and the project has already begun to make a huge impact in providing sustainable energy in the region.
What are the positive impacts of East Anglia ONE?
Despite only achieving full operation in 2020, the windfarm has already made a really positive impact in key areas: the environment, employment and education.
The environmental impact is incredibly significant, with East Anglia ONE creating a vital source of green energy, powering homes, businesses and communities through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The windfarm will now play a major part in reaching the UK’s target of meeting Net Zero by 2050. The windfarm has the capacity to produce 714MW of clean energy – enough to power the equivalent of 630,000 homes each year.
As part of their on-going commitment to wind power innovation, ScottishPower has implemented the Frond Mats initiative in the waters of East Anglia ONE, using synthetic undersea vegetation to reduce the effects of currents and water turbulence. The aim is to protect the subsea wind turbine structures from the effects of erosion, and this could result in huge economic savings.
East Anglia One has also been a fantastic project for creating and sustaining jobs. Almost 3,500 jobs were filled during the construction phase, starting in 2017. Furthermore, there have been 100 long-term skilled roles created at the operations and maintenance base in Lowestoft.
The windfarm’s positive impact has also been felt in education. ScottishPower Renewables has set up a sponsorship of ten engineering masters degrees at the University of East Anglia. As well as this, they have developed their first ever apprenticeship programme, with the first two apprentices working out of the main base at Lowestoft. Overall, the project has engaged with over 3,000 pupils at a range of stages in their studies.
Delivering the project during COVID-19
Roughly 20% of the turbine installation work and 50% of the connection work had to be completed when the UK was under a national lockdown. All of the partners in the project showed great flexibility in their approach to getting the windfarm finished in these difficult circumstances, transforming the way they worked in order to get the job done.
To achieve this under COVID-19 restrictions, there was a shift to using a larger number of smaller vessels, so that the crews made up “households” who lived and worked together in their support bubble. Crew changes were kept to a minimum and other protocols were introduced around welfare and hygiene. The crews showed great adaptability, taking these changes in their stride and achieving prompt project completion.
What part has FoundOcean played in the success of East Anglia ONE?
FoundOcean is the longest-running offshore grouting contractor, with more than 50 years of experience. During the installation of the foundations, our expertise supported the success of the East Anglia ONE project and helped the construction of the 102 wind turbines run smoothly. FoundOcean managed the onshore grout material logistics, as well as completing the offshore grouting for the tripod foundations of each of the turbines.
We appointed a quayside coordinator to provide effective communication with all parties in the cement supply chain. There were a number of contractors working on the project, so this was a really important factor in keeping things running smoothly. This role meant all stakeholders had a single point of contact and strengthened the connections between the client, the suppliers, the offshore team, onshore engineers and back-office support. It removed any barriers to talking to one another and this hugely contributed to the success of the project.
Paying close attention to the weather and acting reactively and swiftly is one instance of this excellent communication. After completing the first offshore campaign, made up of 37 structures, the weather window experience indicated that for the second campaign of 65 structures, foundations could be loaded out at a much faster rate than originally scheduled. The installation rate was increased from five foundations a week to five in every 48 hours. Our teams were able to adapt and offer the flexibility and capacity to meet this increase in demand.
Such a change also required an adaptable attitude to logistics. We introduced a modified approach, bringing in additional staff offshore for grout cleaning and equipment maintenance. A 24-hour shift enabled us to couple this with a demanding QC schedule, and we enabled a way of working which was thorough and efficient.
We used our own cement supply chain tracking software, ‘BatchTrax’, to track the material supplied from the factory to the exact foundation leg, allowing for complete QA transparency.
“Successfully commissioning one of the world’s largest offshore windfarms on time, despite all of the challenges posed by Covid-19, is a testament to the incredible efforts of the whole East Anglia ONE team – and the many UK businesses that have supported the project. Many congratulations to all involved. East Anglia ONE is a reminder that the UK continues to lead the world in the successful delivery of offshore wind projects.”
Head of Green Investment Group Europe
For more information on FoundOcean’s experience and capabilities, contact the team on +44 1506 440330 or email email@example.com