BiFab wins £12m offshore wind farm work

Fife-based Burntisland Fabrications has won a £12m contract to design and manufacture two substation foundation structures for the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm off the North Wales coast.

RWE npower renewables is building the offshore wind farm in partnership with the Munich-based municipal utility company Stadtwerke München and Siemens.

BiFab will work alongside Belfast-based shipyard Harland & Wolff, which was appointed by the project's electrical systems contractor Siemens, to design and manufacture the two substations.

Toby Edmonds, project director, said: "We are very pleased that once again the construction of Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm can continue to deliver investment into the UK, through this contract with BiFab. RWE npower renewables is keen to support the UK's manufacturing industry. The award of this contract will not only guarantee skilled fabrication jobs at BiFab but will also strengthen the UK's position as a world-leader in the renewable energy industry.

"The company is an experienced offshore foundations manufacturer, and has demonstrated reliability and innovation within its tender for this scope of work. The BiFab team has also shown to us that their values align with our own and that they understand how to reduce the cost associated with the design and manufacture of jacket substructures for the offshore wind industry without compromising either health and safety or quality."

John Robertson, BiFab managing director, added: "It is our first project with RWE and we hope it will be the start of a long term relationship with the company.

"Work will start immediately and the contract is due for completion in March 2012. BiFab will subcontract the design work to ODE London. The jacket structures that support the offshore substations will be fabricated at the BiFab Methil facility, securing employment for 350 staff, while the foundation piles that secure the jackets to the seabed will be manufactured by the BiFab Arnish facility at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. This will allow for the development of the facility of a pile manufacturing plant and will safeguard an additional 40 jobs."

Robertson said the two offshore platform jackets will be installed in April 2012. He added that this will enable the array cables carrying the generated electricity from the 160 wind turbines, to be connected to the offshore substations. These, in turn, connect to 132KV export cables carrying the electricity to a beach landing point at Pensarn for onward transmission to the new electricity sub station at St Asaph.

Siemens will supply the wind turbines which will be connected via 33kV array cables. Onboard the Harland & Wolff built platforms Siemens' equipment will transform the power from 33kV up to 132kV for transmission back to a new onshore substation at St Asaph also to be built by Siemens.

The substations will be completed by June 2012.

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