The Challenge

Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm is located approximately 28km from Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk Coast, and extends over approximately 75km². At the time of its construction, Race Bank was one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world. Royal HaskoningDHV was commissioned in the post-consent period in order to carry out a range of environmental assessments prior to installation works being carried out and also to help oversee the installation works.

The electricity generated by the wind farm is delivered to the onshore substation using export cables which are buried onshore for 11km from the landfall point to a new substation extension at Walpole in Norfolk, having made landfall through The Wash. This region of the North Norfolk coast is particularly environmentally sensitive so the key challenge facing Royal HaskoningDHV was how to facilitate the installation of export cables, with a focus on the marine and intertidal environment.

The Solution

A key focus for RHDHV initially was on finding ways to minimise disturbance of the highly environmentally sensitive intertidal saltmarsh habitats of The Wash during the installation of the export cables as they approached the landfall.

Subsequently, the focus moved to offshore, and specifically the challenge of installing the export cables at the required depth through a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA).

Royal HaskoningDHV’s experts designed and managed a number of technical and environmental assessments on behalf of the client in order to help find the optimum methods and routes and to deliver consent for the works to be undertaken.  These included work in relation to Unexploded Ordnance Clearance, export cable installation trials, sandwave clearance and remedial cable protection works. We also assisted with the marine licences for met mast decommissioning and Operation & Maintenance activities.

The Outcome

RHDHV supported the project while it was being prepared for construction, through the construction phase and into operation. The offshore wind farm is now fully operational, with the RHDHV environmental consultancy team continuing to provide support across a number of different areas including monitoring requirements and Operation & Maintenance works.

In brief:

  • At the time of construction, one of the biggest offshore wind farms in the world
  • Multiple environmental assessments post consent and pre, during and post-construction
  • Met mast decommissioning
  • Challenges in long offshore cable installation in environmentally sensitive habitats with challenging ground conditions
  • Installation of export cables in SAC and SPA designated sites

Contact

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