Dogger Bank: World’s largest windfarm’s operations base to be net-zero carbon

Construction of the base is scheduled for later this year

Equinor’s Dogger Bank Wind Farm, expected to be the world’s largest offshore windfarm once operational, will have it’s O&M based constructed in line with the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework.

The facility, to be located at the Port of Tyne, will be fitted with solar panels to enable onsite renewable generation, electric vehicle (EV) charging points for staff and will be built using low-carbon materials that meet UKGBC energy efficiency classifications.

An internal carbon price has also been introduced. Consideration of the price is rated alongside the market costs of materials, which has enabled the design team to strengthen the financial case for selecting low-carbon materials.

Equinor’s vice president for the Dogger Bank windfarm Halfdan Brustad said: “With the capability to generate electricity for millions of homes, Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being built on a scale never been seen before in offshore wind. The project will make a real contribution to decarbonising our electricity system, and help the UK meet its net-zero targets. 

“This modern and attractive facility will support over 200 people working directly on Dogger Bank, and be a proud base at the heart of the North East for teams working on the world’s largest offshore wind farm.”

Construction process

The UKGBC’s framework has two stands – one for construction of the building and another for operations. Equinor has confirmed that the O&M base will be certified against both applications. CBRE will work with the project team to assist material selection and carbon accounting. The O&M base has been designed by international design practice, Ryder Architecture.

Construction of the base is scheduled for later this year, with completion set for late 2022, ahead of wind farm operations starting in 2023.

Around 200 people will be based there or offshore to operate and maintain Dogger Bank, which will be able to generate around 5% of the UK’s electricity and will be located more than 130km out to sea.

The windfarm has already confirmed that an “ultra-low emissions” jack-up vessel is being used to install the turbines and the Service Operations Vessels used during operations will be fitted with a hybrid battery system to reduce emissions.

Late last year, financial close was confirmed on two phases of Dogger Bank, with capital expenditure reaching around £6bn, which is the largest offshore wind project financing globally.

SSE Renewables and Equinor, the two firms behind the Dogger Bank windfarm, confirmed that the first two phases of the project will each require a total capital expenditure of around £3bn, including offshore transmission capex of around £800m per phase.

With a capacity of 3.6GW, Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore windfarm in the world when operational. It consists of three 1.2GW phases and construction began on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in January last year.

Dogger Bank has secured 15-year contracts with the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) through the UK Government’s Contract for Difference (CfD) auction. This was achieved in September 2019, when the auction delivered record low-strike prices. As such, Dogger Bank A has a strike price of £39.65/MWh, while phases B and C have secured a strike rate of £41.61/MWh.

The Government is aiming to double the amount of renewable energy procured through its CfD scheme, with 12GW of wind and solar energy being targeted.

Matt Mace

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