How do we get wind turbines into deeper water in the ocean? The answer is gravity base foundations. A company named EDF Energy Renewables has awarded a UK company, Royal BAM Group, the engineering design contract to build five gravity base stations that will keep wind turbines in Blyth, Northumberland, England propped up. The turbines would produce clean energy to 33,000 homes. Wind turbines are nothing new, but the gravity base stations are. They will be the first of its kind in the world.
Credit: Construction Index
EDF Energy Renewables has crafted these foundations to use technology that they have claimed to be "self-installing". A single base's diameter will be 30 meters and filled with water inside of it. They are then lowered into the ocean and then filled with sand. The turbine is then ready to be lowered into the foundation base.
BAM's head of civil engineering Malcolm Corlett said: "This is a very significant milestone not just for BAM but for the wider offshore wind sector. An opportunity to demonstrate the potential for self-installing concrete gravity bases to provide economic foundations for large wind turbines in deeper water. Following five years of intensive work refining our design and method of construction we now have a live project to demonstrate our technology and bring new skills and opportunity to the northeast of England."
According to their video, EDF would make it easy to fill the foundations with sand on land, or pump sand into them once secured underwater. It is called 'float and sink' technology. This is where the foundations are floated and then sunk into position.
The chief executive of RenewableUK Hugh McNeal said: "The Blyth project highlights how Britain is leading the way in offshore wind innovation. Our industry is at the forefront of developing renewable technology that will be exported around the world."
The turbines will supply added energy to Blyth's 99.9MW offshore wind development projects, run by EDF Renewable Energies.
To see how these bases will be engineered in a construction yard alongside the ocean, look at this video:
Source: Construction Index UK