West of Orkney windfarm completes 2023 offshore geotechnical and geophysical campaigns

The West of Orkney Windfarm has now completed its 2023 offshore geotechnical and geophysical survey campaigns for its proposed windfarm, located 25km north of the Sutherland coast and 30km west of Orkney.

This will support the front-end engineering and design (FEED) of the flagship scheme, which will comprise up to 125 fixed bottom offshore wind turbines.

Last year, the West of Orkney Windfarm secured the development rights to an area of seabed from Crown Estate Scotland in the highly competitive ScotWind leasing process to bring forward a project which is expected to have a capacity of around two gigawatts and aims to deliver first power in 2029.

It is being developed by a joint venture comprising Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG).

This year’s surveys follow a successful 2022 campaign which saw the completion of nearshore geophysical, offshore geophysical and geotechnical and onshore geotechnical surveys alongside ornithology and marine mammal surveys.

It is anticipated the developers will now submit offshore and onshore consent applications to Scottish Ministers and The Highland Council respectively later this year.

This year’s surveys covered geophysical and geotechnical surveys of the seabed across the 657km2 offshore option agreement area, with the objective of establishing improved site characterisation and to drive subsequent offshore ground modelling work.

“We are delighted the seabed survey work has been completed safely, on schedule and within budget,” said Stephen Kerr, Project Director of the West of Orkney Windfarm.

“This project represents a major economic opportunity for Scotland and the UK, and the timely completion of this survey campaign means we can continue to advance our windfarm design and deepen our relationships with the supply chain companies and the ports and harbours which will be central to the delivery of this major infrastructure scheme in the years ahead.

“I’d like to thank the survey management team at TotalEnergies UK Offshore Wind Hub, our advisers OWC, and survey contractors Geoquip Marine and Gardline, who worked diligently through their campaigns to deliver excellent results.

“I would also like to thank the licencing team at Marine Scotland for their support, the Crown Estate Scotland and the local fishers, who have engaged positively with us throughout,” Stephen concluded.

The offshore geotechnical contractor was Geoquip Marine using the vessel Dina Polaris operating out of Scrabster Harbour. The total fieldwork duration was 65 vessel days, during which 23 composite sampling and testing boreholes were completed to depths between 10 and 90 metres below seafloor.

The offshore geophysical survey contractor was Gardline using the vessel Ocean Endeavour operating out of Aberdeen and the Port of Leith. In total 3660 line km of Ultra High Resolution Seismic (UHRS) and Multi Beam Echo Sounder (MBES) data was collected during a 55-day campaign.

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