Commission date 2012
Opened 7 September 2012
Owners SSE plc, Npower
Distance from shore 23 km (14 mi)
Units operational 140
|Location Inner Gabbard and The Galloper banks
Make and model Siemens Wind Power: SWT3.6-107
Similar London Array, Gunfleet Sands Offshore, Horns Rev, Anholt Offshore Wind Farm, Nysted Wind Farm
Greater Gabbard is a 504 MW wind farm on sandbanks 23 kilometres (14 mi) off the coast of Suffolk in England at a cost of £1.5 billion. Onshore construction activities commenced in early July 2008 at Sizewell. It was completed on 7 September 2012 with all of the Siemens SWT3.6-107 turbines connected.
The project was originally developed by Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited (GGOWL) which was a joint venture between Airtricity and Fluor. Airtricity was subsequently bought by Scottish and Southern Energy who have bought out Fluor's 50% stake for £40m which is expected to cost £1.3b. Fluor are now contracted to design, supply, installation and commissioning of the balance of the plant. Scottish and Southern sold a 50% stake to RWE, the owners of Npower (UK), in November 2008 for £308m.
The project was given the go-ahead in May 2008 and work started in June. In July 2011 erection of the turbines was two thirds complete, with all the pile foundations installed.
In October 2009 Seajacks Ltd delivered its 7,000 tonne Leviathan vessel to Fluor Ltd which sailed to Harwich to prepare the hook-up and commissioning of an in-field substation and then installation of the turbines. The first foundations were installed in autumn 2009 with the first of a total of 140 turbines installed in the spring 2010. Electricity generation began on 29 December 2010 and construction was completed on 7 September 2012. During April 2014 to March 2015 the wind farm produced 1.7 TWh, corresponding to a capacity factor of 39%.
The wind farm may be seen by the public from the Stena Line Harwich to Hook of Holland car & passenger ferry, the route passing within a few kilometres.
An extension of the project, called Galloper, was agreed in May 2013. The proposal was to add up to 140 turbines to the development, producing up to 504 MW of electricity. The wind farm was expected to be completed in 2017. The project was being developed in partnership by RWE Innogy and SSE.
In November 2013 the project capacity was reduced to 68 turbines producing 340 MW. In March 2014, SSE announced that it would be pulling out of the project. In October 2014 RWE Innogy announced that it too was abandoning the project, but in December the company revealed that it was still seeking potential investment partners.
Greater Gabbard specifications
On 12 November 2009, a man was killed and a woman injured after a chain broke and the two people were hit with pieces of the chain. Police responded to the incident, and an investigation was launched. The casualties were on board a tugboat, the Typhoon.
On 21 May 2010, a man died and another suffered serious injuries following an accident at Parkeston Quay, Harwich. A Siemens engineer from Norresundby, Denmark, died in the incident. A 43-year-old German national was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The incident happened at about 7.50 am while loading a wind turbine blade on the vessel Seajack. Siemens and Fluor were ordered to pay £1 million for the incident.
In September 2013 remedial work was begun on the export cables close to shore as the cables were not buried sufficiently deeply. The work which was meant to take three weeks was only finished in September 2014. The work caused problems for local fishermen who asked the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm for a disruption payment. A spokesman for SSE denied that the work was responsible for the snagging of fishing nets.