Norway’s troublesome first offshore wind farm located in British waters will be opened by HRH Crown Prince Haakon at a ceremony at Norfolk’s Holkham Hall, Thursday.
Co-owners Statoil and Statkraft describe the 88-turbine Sheringham Shoal facility as a pioneering project for renewable energy.
With expected production levels of 317 MW, it is thought Sheringham Shoal will provide electricity for 220,000 UK homes. The last turbine was installed on 10 July.
At the same time Statkraft’s Communications Manager Torbjørn Steen told news agency NTB that the project has been quite challenging at times.
“It has been technically challenging, [there has been] tough weather and delays, but overall we have gained experience and expertise that will benefit future projects.”
In one incident, the project suffered an approximate 10-month and NOK 600 million setback after heavy lift vessel MS Svanen, used to establish the 500-ton foundations, was found unsuitable and had to be replaced.
“The original boat was not suitable for these types of operations as it was too vulnerable to swell,” Statoil press spokesperson Morten Eek said to The Foreigner last year. “The decision to use MS “Svanen” was taken by the contracting parties MT Højgaard and SCIRA.”
2011’s extreme autumn and winter weather also slowed the approximately NOK 10 billion kroner-project (about GBP 1.07 billion) planned wind turbine installation.
“We’re now looking to see if we can reduce the extra costs that have arisen, through, amongst other things, revenues from wind turbines that are already up and in production,” Mr Eek explained to Stavanger Aftenbladet earlier this year, not wishing to comment about the size of the extra outlay.
Moreover, Statkraft had to write down its 50 percent shareholding in the offshore wind farm by 338 million kroner, mainly due to delays and associated cost overruns in the development project.
At the same time, the company’s Torbjørn Steen declared they still wanted “to have an industrial role within the wind power sector.”
Statoil and Statkraft have been granted a license to create more wind turbines in the future at Dogger Bank, seen as the world’s largest wind power area. It is believed this will supply between 8 and 9 percent of the UK’s total energy needs, and is reportedly 30 times larger than Sheringham Shoal.
Also present at Thursday’s Wells-Next-The-Sea opening in Norfolk will be Petroleum and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe, Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske, and Statoil CEO Helge Lund, amongst others.
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