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Offshore construction has started at RWE’s 1.4GW Sofia Offshore Wind Farm with the installation of subsea cable infrastructure from the UK’s north-east coast to the wind farm site on Dogger Bank, in the central North Sea.
Cable contractor Prysmian’s Leonardo da Vinci vessel will lay the first section of high voltage direct current (HVDC) export cable for the transport of electricity from the wind farm back to the UK coast and into the UK transmission network. Prysmian’s 170-metre-long vessel will operate out of the Port of Middlesbrough and will lay two 130-kilometre sections of cable in parallel. It will start its cable-laying work just off the Teesside coast between Redcar and Marske-by-the-Sea. One end of each of the two sections of subsea cable will be pulled underwater from the vessel through cable ducts that were installed earlier this year. The cable will pass below the beach, sand dunes, and road before emerging at the landfall construction compound. The vessel will then move away from the coast, laying the full length of cable along its set route towards the offshore wind farm. Installation of the two remaining 90-kilometre sections of marine export cable is planned for 2024. By late 2024, Leonardo da Vinci will have laid four sections of ±320kV HVDC marine export cables with XLPE insulation, totaling 440 kilometres plus the accompanying communications cables. The wind farm will use 100 Siemens Gamesa 14MW offshore wind turbines (SG 14-222 DD) and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026.
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