Norwegian offshore wind contractor Awind has clinched a deal to charter the first of its so-called “walk-to-work” commissioning service operation vessels (CSOV) for operations at the Dogger Bank wind farm in the UK North Sea.

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It is claimed the development — situated more than 130 kilometres from the Yorkshire coast — will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world when complete in 2026, with the wind farm being developed in three 1.2-gigawatt phases, to give an eventual capacity of 3.6GW.

The charter, which will start in the second quarter of 2023 and end in 2025, will support the commissioning of the 13-megawatt GE Renewable Energy Haliade-X turbines on the first two phases of the development, Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B.

China newbuilds

A subsidiary of Integrated Wind Solutions, Awind has a pair of CSOVs — measuring 90 metres by 19 metres — under construction at China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI), with delivery in the second quarter 2023.

In addition, Awind has options with CMI for up to four more CSOVs, which will be equipped for zero-emission operations through a battery-based plug-in hybrid solution.

The vessels will have a 3D motion compensated crane and motion compensated gangway, and will be able to accommodate 120 people. Awind says they are tailored for highly efficient and safe “walk-to-work” operations.

Dogger Bank project director, Steve Wilson, said: “Signing this contract with Awind for the 'walk-to-work' vessel is another important milestone for the project. The vessel will play an important role in the safe commissioning of the turbines in the construction of the first two phases.”

Christopher Heidenreich, managing director of Awind, added: “We are extremely pleased that Dogger Bank wind farm has chosen Awind to support its turbine commissioning at the world’s largest offshore wind farm."

The vessels will be equipped to handle a variety of tasks required to support offshore wind farms during the installation, commissioning, operations and maintenance phase, according to Heidenreich.

Dogger Bank C

Late last year, the Dogger Bank partners reached financial close on the first two phases, with a financial decision for the third phase — Dogger Bank C — expected late this year.

Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B are being built in a joint venture between SSE Renewables on 40%, Equinor on 40% and Eni on 20%, while Dogger Bank C is a 50:50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.

SSE Renewables is leading the construction and delivery of Dogger Bank. Equinor will operate Dogger Bank on completion for its lifetime of up to 35 years.