East Anglia ONE, the largest windfarm in Iberdrola's history
East Anglia ONE, a joint venture between ScottishPower Renewables and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG), is a £2.5 billion project and the first of four offshore windfarms.
ScottishPower Renewables completed the installation and commissioning of its East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm – an incredible achievement, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All 102 Siemens Gamesa offshore wind turbines – situated 43km off the Suffolk coast – are now fully operational, with the capacity to produce 714MW of clean energy. Each year, the windfarm will produce enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of more than 630,000 homes*.
Around 20 per cent of the turbine installation and around half the turbine connection work was completed during lockdown, with ScottishPower Renewables and its project partners transforming how they worked to get the job done. This included switching to a higher number of smaller vessels, creating crew ‘households’ who lived and worked together at all times, introducing new welfare protocols and minimising crew changes.
This comprehensive approach allowed the project to be completed on time, creating a source of vital green energy to keep homes, businesses and communities powered during the crisis and beyond. East Anglia ONE will now play a major part in contributing to the UK’s target of meeting Net Zero by 2050.
Technical features of East Englia ONE
The windfarm covers an area of 300 km2, which is equal to 40,000 football pitches.
East Anglia ONE features 102 wind turbines, each producing 7 MW, supplied by Siemens Gamesa. They reach a height of 167 metres, with 75 metre long blades.
The jacket type foundations were manufactured by Navantia in Fene (Galicia, Spain) and by Lamprell in the United Arab Emirates and by Harland & Wolff in Belfast (Ireland). Windar built the piles in Avilés (Asturias, Spain).
The Andalucía II marine substation, manufactured by Navantia in Puerto Real (Cádiz, Spain), is responsible for collecting the electricity produced by the wind turbines and transforming the voltage to transport it to the coast. To do so, two transmission cables, each nearly 85 km long, were laid on the sea bed.
These cables are connected to a further six underground cables approximately 37 km long, from Bawdsey to a new transformer at the land-based Burstall sub
-station, which connects the offshore wind farm to the national grid.
The maintenance and operations base, located in Lowestoft Port, will handle daily operations for the fleet over its 30+ year working life. Opened in 2019, it consists of the maritime coordination centre, technical offices and warehouse, and about a hundred people are employed on site.
*Equivalent number of homes powered calculated by: Number of megawatts multiplied by the number of hours in one year (8,766) multiplied by the average load factor for offshore wind (42%, as published within the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2021 (average offshore wind load factor for 2020, 2019 and 2018), divided by the average annual household energy consumption (3.807MWh, as published within ‘Energy Consumption in the UK 2021’) (average electricity demand for 2020, 2019 and 2018).
Supporting the local economy
In addition to the significant impact the windfarm will have on the UK’s low carbon future, East Anglia ONE’s achievement and ambition will continue far beyond energy power. The site has already brought major benefits to the local economy, regional jobs market and wider UK supply chain.
Almost 3,500 jobs were sustained during the construction phase, which began in 2017, while 100 long-term skilled jobs have been created at the operations and maintenance base in Lowestoft.
ScottishPower Renewables co-invested £5 million in Peel Ports Great Yarmouth to prepare it for construction and marshalling activity. Over the course of the project, more than half of the project’s supply chain has come from the UK market, exceeding the commitments made as part of its successful bid for Contract for Difference funding.
Investing in the future
ScottishPower Renewables has placed East Anglia at the centre of its ambitious skills strategy, engaging with more than 3,000 pupils across the educational spectrum – including sponsorship of ten engineering masters at the University of East Anglia – and the development of ScottishPower Renewables’ first-ever apprenticeship programme.
The four new apprentices are based at East Anglia ONE’s state-of-the-art new operations and maintenance building at Hamilton Dock, Lowestoft; a key part of a £25million investment made by ScottishPower Renewables into the port. The recruitment drive comes on the back of the offshore wind industry target announced in March to employ 3,000 new apprentices across the industry by 2030.
'United by Wind' Documentary
Within the framework of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Iberdrola group presented the United by the wind documentary, which shows the social aspect of the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm.
More than twenty workers, both from the company and from several of its suppliers, tell us about the importance of teamwork, companionship and training to set up an infrastructure of this magnitude and complexity, as well as the effect th development is having on local economies.