DBS offshore wind farms take seabed site investigations to the next level

RWE and Masdar are taking the development of the Dogger Bank South (DBS) offshore wind projects to the next level. The companies have awarded Fugro, global leading geo-data specialist, a contract to undertake detailed geotechnical surveys on the site of the DBS (Dogger Bank South) West offshore wind farm.

DBS comprises two separate sites, DBS East and DBS West located on Dogger Bank, a shallow area of the North Sea over 100km off the North East coast of England. Both DBS project developments are being led by RWE who will deliver project development, construction, and operations on behalf of the partners RWE (51% share) and Masdar (49% share).

Three vessels, Fugro Quest, Fugro Voyager and Normand Mermaid, will survey the ground conditions below seabed from June to October 2024 at the location of each proposed turbine and platform foundation, and associated seabed infrastructure. The ground investigation will use a combination of Cone Penetration Tests (CPT) and sampling boreholes and will be an extensive geotechnical campaign for one of the world’s largest offshore wind projects.

Colin McAllister, Development Project Manager, DBS offshore wind farms said: “The geotechnical data from these site investigations will give our engineers a detailed and accurate picture of the individual ground conditions at sites of the foundations and associated offshore infrastructure. We already have high-level data about the seabed conditions from reconnaissance surveys conducted in 2022. With the level of detail captured from the new surveys, however, we can design the most effective foundations for each turbine and platform in the project. We expect similar detailed surveys to take place at DBS East in the future.”

John ten Hoope, Fugro’s Regional Director Marine Site Characterisation said: “We are excited to continue working with RWE on this prestigious project. Our successful combination of innovation technology and expert project teams will safely deliver timely high-quality data and insights crucial to optimising the design of DBS West offshore wind farm. The fieldwork, which comprises seabed cone penetration tests, and vibrocores from the Normand Mermaid and geotechnical boreholes from the Fugro Quest and Fugro Voyager, will start in June 2024. The subsequent extensive laboratory testing will take place in Fugro’s laboratories in the UK.”

RWE entered into Agreements for Lease for the two DBS projects with The Crown Estate in January 2023. The projects will make an important economic contribution to the region, a major contribution to the delivery of net zero in the UK, and the UK’s broader economic growth and energy security. Based on an estimated capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW), once fully operational, the DBS projects could be capable of generating enough electricity to meet the average annual domestic energy needs of around three million typical UK homes.

The next development milestone for the projects will be the submission of applications for Development Consent Orders, expected to be during the second quarter of 2024. If successful, the next steps would be to secure Contracts for Difference (CfD), followed by financing, construction and finally commissioning by 2031.