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British firm brings innovation to Triton Knoll’s foundations design

BRITISH engineering and design expertise is helping deliver further cost reductions at Triton Knoll offshore wind farm, as the key project subcontractor innovates. 

British firm brings innovation to Triton Knoll’s foundations design

UK-based engineers Atkins, subcontracted to the farm’s preferred foundations supplier Smulders Sif Steel Foundations JV, is looking to apply cutting edge design techniques to the monopile foundations for all 90 of the turbines and its two offshore substations.

Innogy’s Richard Hughes, foundations package manager for Triton Knoll, said: “It’s very exciting to know that UK engineering expertise will be at the heart of driving the design of a monopile foundation which has the potential to be lighter than any currently installed in comparable site conditions, so helping to deliver cost reductions.

 “We’ve worked very closely with Atkins and our preferred foundations supplier Smulders Sif Steel Foundations JV to share our own experiences and knowledge and help support the delivery of real innovation. Innogy and Triton Knoll are key members of the industry-wide Pile Soil Analysis Group which aims to find ways of reducing costs across the sector by implementing new methods of designing monopile foundations. We expect Triton Knoll to be one of the first projects to see the results of these improvements delivered on the ground.”

The project has already designed out the need for a substantial piece of onshore infrastructure – an intermediate electrical compound that would have occupied 1.8 hectares of land at Orby.

Andy Thompson, market lead for offshore engineering at Atkins, said: “Bigger turbines create different engineering challenges and given Triton Knoll is the first offshore wind farm to use the V164-9.5 MW turbine, we’re taking a unique approach to addressing the design questions posed by the project, drawing on all our previous offshore experience, in both wind and oil and gas.

“Our UK-based team has many years of experience working on offshore wind farms around the world, and we’re looking forward to putting that expertise into action on the project. Our industry continues to learn at an extraordinary pace and Atkins’ innovative work designing and engineering various parts of an offshore wind farm has been key to helping lower costs for industry and, ultimately, the consumer. 

“We’re extremely pleased to have been selected as the designer for the Triton Knoll project. This is an important project for us, and helps Atkins maintain the momentum we’ve already built in pushing engineering design boundaries. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with the very competent Smulders SIF Steel Foundations Joint Venture to provide structures that help enable the continued reduction in the cost of energy generated by offshore wind.” 

The company said that critical national infrastructure projects like Triton Knoll have also been key to exporting UK skills to other offshore wind markets. Atkins added that China, Taiwan and the US all want to use experience gained in the European market, both companies and people who have done it before. This week sees delegations from both the US and Taiwan in the Humber, and the accelerated programmes in other countries mean there are plenty of potential opportunities for innovative UK suppliers to be involved in exporting to the global offshore wind market place. 

Triton Knoll was awarded a Contract For Difference in September, and expects to trigger a capital expenditure investment of around £2 billion.

It is now progressing towards a financial investment decision likely in 2018 with full onshore construction starting shortly after, and offshore construction starting in 2020. First energy generation could be as early as the first quarter of 2021, with the project expecting to begin commissioning later that year.

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