The consortium of GE’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine will design and build the HVDC electricity transmission system


GE consortium selected to build transmission system for Sofia offshore wind farm. (Credit: Pixabay/doskey12.)

German utility RWE’s UK subsidiary RWE Renewables has selected a consortium of GE and Sembcorp Marine, for the development of the high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system for the 1.4GW Sofia offshore wind farm.

To be located 195km off the coast of Dogger Bank, in the English North Sea, Sofia offshore wind farm is expected to be one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world.

The contract includes the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the offshore converter platform and the onshore converter station, including all ancillary equipment.

As a consortium lead, GE’s Grid Solutions is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of the two HVDC converter stations that can transmit 1.4GW of clean energy generated from the wind farm to the national grid.

GE Grid Solutions grid integration lead Raj Iyer said: “We are delighted to be chosen as the consortium leader for Sofia Offshore Wind Farm. This is recognition of our advanced technology, specifically our world-class eLumina HVDC Control System and second-generation converter modules, as well as our expertise in delivering this type of complex HVDC solution.”

Sembcorp Marine will build and install the offshore converter platform, which is the heart of the wind farm. It will include a 10,000 tonne topside attached to a jacket foundation piled into the seabed.

Power from the offshore converter will be received by an onshore converter station, which will be converted into 400kV, before it is supplied to the national grid.

GE will manufacture HVDC equipment at its UK facilities

GE also stated that all the primary HVDC equipment will be manufactured and fabricated at its Grid Solutions’ Stafford facilities in the UK.

RWE Renewables wind offshore global chief operating officer Sven Utermöhlen said:  “We are keen to support the growth of both onshore and offshore wind energy in UK, one of our core markets in Europe.

“The choice of GE’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine for the supply of the electrical system is an important statement of our commitment to grow our renewables portfolio in the UK and reflects our ambition to strive for continuous innovation in the development, construction and operation of our offshore wind farms.”

The consortium plans to begin early design works this month and the full contract is subject to the project’s final investment decision, which is expected to be taken in the first quarter of next year.

The wind farm’s construction will begin onshore at the Teesside converter station site early next year and the offshore construction could begin in 2023.