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First turbines for new wind farm site

PUBLISHED: 13:05 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:24 06 July 2010

POWER FOR THE FUTURE: The first turbine installation at the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm.

POWER FOR THE FUTURE: The first turbine installation at the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm.

THIS was the impressive scene as the first turbines were installed at a wind farm off the Suffolk coast.

The 500-megawatt Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, about 15 miles off Sizewell, is due to be completed in two years' time.

THIS was the impressive scene as the first turbines were installed at a wind farm off the Suffolk coast.

The 500-megawatt Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, about 15 miles off Sizewell, is due to be completed in two years' time.

The first turbines were moved onto the site on Tuesday and erected on top of their recently-installed foundations.

Sixty-nine foundations have already been set into the sea bed about 15 miles offshore and the 170m tall white bodies of the turbines are now being installed.

The components arrive by boat at Harwich and are then brought alongside the turbine foundations by a special barge which lowers

its legs to the sea bed before raising itself hydraulically. Using the onboard cranes, the turbine tower is lifted into place followed by the generator, the cone-shaped piece on the front of the turbine and the three blades.

When complete, the massive wind farm will comprise 140 turbines, each generating 3.6 MW. It will eventually generate around 3.6MW of electricity ­- enough power for more than 530,000 homes.

The wind farm will be monitored from Lowestoft, where Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited (GGOWL) has already invested £1.5m in its new onshore operations and maintenance on the old fish docks off Battery Green Road.

Employees are already working in Lowestoft, and about 100 jobs are expected to have created by the time the wind farm is up and running in 2012.

Project manager Vince Read, from RWE npower renewables, said the first turbine installation represented a significant step.

“We remain on course to complete the wind farm in 2012,” he said.

Last week, The Crown Estate announced it would be extending the Greater Gabbard site, doubling the power it generates by 2016.

Jim Smith, director of offshore from Scottish and Southern Energy, added: “The wind farm will make an important contribution towards achieving government targets for renewable energy generation. With the Crown Estate's announcement last week of an extension to the Greater Gabbard site, to be known as the Galloper Wind Farm, we're making good progress.”

The wind turbines are being supplied by Siemens and installed by Fluor.

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