The Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm has marked a major milestone with the installation and commissioning of its first turbine, says project owner Scira Offshore Energy.

The first 3.6 MW Siemens turbine started producing electricity for the UK’s grid on August 2nd, just two years after initial construction works started. The remaining 87 turbines are expected to be commissioned by the summer of 2012.

The 315 MW project in the North Sea off the coast of eastern England is a joint venture between Statkraft and Statoil. Around 17 foundations remain to be installed as well as the laying and burying of several kilometres of infield cables, said the two companies in a statement.

“This is an important milestone for Statkraft, as we now take on more roles for the operation phase in addition to trading our share of the electricity from the wind farm in the UK market,” said Bjørn Drangsholt, Managing Director for Statkraft UK Ltd.

There are currently up to 30 vessels employing around 500 people offshore on a busy day. “The work requires detailed planning and coordination, but progress is also dependent on good weather conditions,” said Elly Bjerknes, Project Manager from Statoil, which is managing construction of the wind farm for Scira.

Scira is establishing an operation base outside the Norfolk town of Wells-next-the-Sea from which it will operate the wind farm.