RWE Kicks Off Construction of Massive 1.4GW Sofia Offshore Wind Farm

Offshore wind developer RWE said Friday it had started construction of its flagship 1.4 gigawatts Sofia offshore wind farm project in the UK. 

The Sofia is the largest project currently in construction across the company’s entire renewables portfolio and will require an investment of approximately £3 billion ($4,24 billion).

Sven Utermöhlen, COO Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables: “Achieving this start-of-construction milestone for Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is a great moment for the entire RWE Renewables team and a fantastic tribute to the 11 years’ hard work and collaboration from everyone involved, including our suppliers and stakeholders.

“Building a project of this size and scale is a great opportunity to demonstrate our expertise for delivering cost-effective, innovative offshore wind energy around the globe. 

“By installing next-generation wind turbines and the most advanced balance of plant technology so far offshore, we will also gain valuable insights to deploy on our new projects, especially our two new adjacent sites on Dogger Bank South which we were recently awarded by the Crown Estate.”

The official construction will start with onshore activities, which are also known as enabling works. UK firm Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK has been contracted to carry out the work. Credit: RWE

These works take place at the site of the new high-voltage direct current converter station, located near the village of Lazenby in Teesside, and which will be constructed by GE’s Grid Solutions, starting in early 2022.

Initial work on the 7-kilometer onshore cable route will start at around the same time, with the contractor for that package due to be announced later this year. RWE has contracted Prysmian to supply and install the onshore export cable from a point between Redcar and Marske-by-the-Sea to the new converter station, before connecting to the existing National Grid substation in Lackenby, Teesside.

Sofia is a 1.4 gigawatts (GW) offshore wind farm located on Dogger Bank, 195 km from the nearest point on the UK’s North East coast. Consisting of a total of 100 turbines, the wind farm is the largest and furthest offshore for RWE.

RWE said Sofia would provide invaluable experience for the company which is also developing two new adjacent sites, also located on Dogger Bank. 

Offshore installation is expected to begin in 2023, with final project completion expected in the fourth quarter of 2026. Sofia will be the first project in the world to install Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy’s new 14 MW wind turbine, dubbed one of the most advanced offshore wind turbine technologies available. 

The Siemens Gamesa SG 14-222 DD is a 14 MW platform featuring 108-meter carbon and fiberglass blades cast in a single mold and a 222 meter-diameter rotor sweeping an area of 39,000 m2.