Giant floating crane in Peterhead Port for pioneering wind farm

Asian Hercules III arrives ahead of suction bucket foundations for Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre

One of the world’s largest and most versatile floating cranes has arrived in Peterhead Port today ahead of 11 giant game-changing suction bucket foundations.

Setting up base in Peterhead Port, the 25,000 tonne Asian Hercules III will lift and install the 77 metre-high, 1,800 tonne steel jacket foundations - as heavy as almost ten Boeing 747s - at the site of Vattenfall’s pioneering European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen Bay. The suction bucket foundations are believed to be a UK first in large scale offshore wind.

Adam Ezzamel, EOWDC project director for Vattenfall, which is developing the more than £300m facility, said: “The size of the Asian Hercules III offers a glimpse of the scale of the engineering behind the EOWDC. We hope that the technology on display will be an inspiration to young people considering a career in science, technology, engineering and maths.

“Low carbon power is about their future. By testing and demonstrating pioneering technology, the EOWDC will support the growth of a low-cost, fossil-free offshore wind industry which is set to be the backbone of the UK power sector.” 

The scale and size of the floating crane barge moored at Peterhead reflects the evolution of the energy industry and how projects like the EOWDC are playing a key role in ensuring the future energy mix.

“Everyone at Peterhead involved in this project has worked extremely hard to ensure the operation runs as safely and efficiently as possible. This is a complex marine operation in which all parties will, of necessity contribute their considerable skills to bring to fruition. We are presently in the final stages of preparations prior to hosting the first barge carrying foundations.”

Jean Morrison, chair of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) welcomed the milestone: “This is a momentous stage for the project and the North East of Scotland as construction will soon start on this ground-breaking wind project. The delivery of this cutting-edge technology underlines our vision for the EOWDC to be at the forefront of new innovations.”

Once constructed, the EOWDC, also known as Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm, will generate the equivalent of 70% of Aberdeen's domestic electricity demand and annually displace 132,977 tonnes of CO2.

The floating crane has a lifting capacity of up to 5,000 tonnes and a hook height of at least 120metres.

It will be used to transport the jacket structures from Peterhead Port to the wind farm site and lower them on to the seabed in Aberdeen Bay.

Two barges will transport the foundations from Newcastle to Peterhead Port for marshalling while the harbour will also accommodate a construction support vessel and barge tugs.

Peterhead Port is to support the installation operations for at least four months with the offshore work expected to take around six weeks.

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