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Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstration Project

THE PROPOSAL

EDF Energy Renewables is working on the development of the proposed Blyth Offshore Demonstrator (BOD) wind farm off the North East coast.

The project will comprise an offshore wind farm located 5.7km off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland and will provide enough low carbon electricity to power 34,000 homes. 

The development has consent for up to 15 turbines and this initial work will comprise the installation of five turbines with a maximum total generating capacity of 41.5MW. The turbines will have a maximum height to blade tip of 191.5 metres above Ordnance Datum.

Importantly, the project will incorporate a number of new and innovative features. For the first time in an offshore wind project, the turbines will be installed on self-floating and submersible gravity-base foundations and this will be the first project to use 66kV cable technology to connect the wind farm to the onshore substation.

The scheme was originally taken through the planning process by the National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC - now the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult) and was granted approval in October 2013. 

EDF ER acquired the rights to develop the project in October 2014, securing both the seabed rights from The Crown Estate and the associated land rights and meteorological data from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

At its peak there will be around 200 people working on the scheme. Construction work has begun on the onshore substation being built on the former Blyth Power Station site. The gravity based foundations are under construction at the Neptune yard on the River Tyne and offshore work will start in spring 2017 with the installation of the foundations, the offshore electric cables and the wind turbines.

As well as generating low carbon electricity for the national grid, the Blyth site gives EDF Energy Renewables the ability to test and prove new and emerging technologies and to develop best practice supply chain processes for the installation, operation and maintenance of the wind farm.

Statistics:

The Blyth Offshore Demonstrator wind farm will have an initial installed capacity of 41.5MW
of electricity, enough to power approximately 34,000 homes*

Location: 5.7km off the coast of Blyth
County: Northumberland
Turbine number: 5
Turbine rating: 8.3MW 
Total installed capacity: 41.5MW
Turbine tip height: 191.5m above OD
Export & array cable rating: 66kV
Gravity base foundations: 60m high concrete structures, weighs 15,000 tonnes on seabed

Main contractors:
Balfour Beatty – construction of onshore substation and associated electrical works
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind – supply, installation and maintenance of the offshore wind turbines
BAM Nuttall – design, fabrication and installation of the gravity based foundations
VBMS – supply and installation of offshore export and array cable; cable is produced by Nexans

Environmental Assessments and Monitoring:

As part of the original application for consent for the scheme, a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out by former owners NAREC. This included extensive site studies on marine ecology, birdlife, landscapes and seascape, commercial fishing and other environmental matters.

In support of the application a number of documents were submitted and are listed below:

- Environmental Statement (ES), March 2012

- Supplementary Environmental Information (SEI), May 2013

The non-technical summary of the Environmental Statement can be downloaded here

EDF ER has appointed trained Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs) who will monitor marine mammals, such as dolphins and seals, during the pre-construction survey and construction phases of the project.  As part of the initial geophysical studies of the seabed, an MMO will be on board vessels to monitor marine mammal activity.

Econorth has been appointed to carry out preconstruction ecology surveys at the onshore substation site at the former Blyth power station. Econorth is the consultancy arm of Northumberland Wildlife Trust. www.nwt.org.uk/what-we-do/econorth

Fisheries Liaison:

The potential effects of the proposed Blyth Offshore Demonstrator (BOD) Project on the local fishing industry have been studied as part of the 2011 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and included preparation of a baseline assessment of all commercial fisheries including collated information from official data sources, consultation meetings and the results of a fishing community questionnaire.  

Official fisheries data was obtained from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Northumberland Sea Fisheries Committee (now Northumberland Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority, NIFCA).  Information gathered during consultation meetings was used in the interpretation of the official statistics. The baseline will be updated again in 2016.
 
The views of the fishing industry on the BOD project were sought during a series of open meetings and a proactive Fisheries Working Group (FWG) has been established comprising the developer, its consultants and representatives of the fishing industry.

The representatives who form the FWG have agreed to keep all fishermen informed of relevant BOD activities.  As such the FWG were active in contributing to the EIA, and were informed of the 2015 geophysical and geotechnical surveys. The FWG will be informed of all relevant future construction information
 
SMC has been selected to carry out fisheries liaison services on behalf of BOD and EDF-ER.  The overall purpose of the fishing liaison services is to ensure that a harmonious relationship is maintained between the developer and the local fishing community, in order that any potential interference between fishing activities and the development of the project is minimised, and opportunities for utilising local fishermen and/or their vessels for wind farm support services are maximised.
 
The Fisheries Liaison services follow all applicable sections of the ‘FLOWW Best Practice Guidance for Offshore Renewables Developments: Recommendations for Fisheries Liaison’, January 2014.  BODL has chosen to delegate many of the day to day duties of the company fisheries liaison officer to SMC via the supply of a fisheries liaison officer (“FLO”).
 
The general scope of Fisheries Liaison services include:
 
- The provision of a dedicated initial contact services for all fishermen operating in the Project area via the supply of an appointed Fisheries Liaison Officer and out of hours provision of a 24/7 contact service for fishermen;
 
- Supply of suitable offshore fisheries industry representatives (“FIRs”) for offshore survey, construction and maintenance works.  The FIR is required to  liaise with the local fishing industry regarding any up and coming wind farm survey, construction and maintenance works which may impact on fisheries operations;
 
- Regular liaison with the BOD project team including being on call to deal with questions from the BODL and the fishing community relating  to commercial fisheries during agreed hours of on call duty; organisation of BODL/ fishing community meetings at regular intervals; and updating the BOD staff with any relevant local, regional or national fishing issues as required;
 
- Preparing notices to fishermen (“NTF”), FWG minutes, and Project fishing newsletters as required and distribution of those to local fishermen,  applicable local fishing associations and other bodies, as required
 
NTFs and FWG minutes are available here: http://www.fisheriesliaison.com/general.php?id=26
 
For all fisheries related enquiries please contact Simon Prince (simonp@smchse.com / 01723 892861)

*based on an initial five turbines and information sourced from Digest of UK energy Statistics and Department of Energy and Climate Change

Project Contact

Project Contact details

EDF Energy Renewables
Alexander House
1 Mandarin Road
Rainton Bridge Business Park
Houghton le Spring
SUNDERLAND
DH4 5RA

Email: info@edf-er.com

Tel: 0800 0566650

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