RWE has selected a consortium of GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine to supply the 1.4GW Sofia offshore wind farm, one of the world’s largest offshore wind farm projects, located on Dogger Bank, the shallow area of the central North Sea, 195km from the UK coast’s nearest point.
As the consortium leader, GE’s Grid Solutions will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of two High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter stations capable of transmitting 1,400MW of power at 320kV. Innovative converter modules and a new high-tech control system have been deployed for Sofia. It will be the most powerful offshore converter station ever fabricated and will be installed at a point 220km from shore, so will also be the most remote.
The selection of the consortium is positive news for the UK as a significant element of all the primary HVDC equipment will be manufactured and fabricated at GE’s Grid Solutions’ Stafford facilities, which employ more than 1,000 workers.
The Sofia offshore wind farm project will be based on GE Grid‘s latest technology, utilising its second-generation voltage source convertor valve and featuring the first application of its state-of-the-art eLumina™ HVDC Control System. eLumina is the industry’s first HVDC solution to use a digital measurement system fully based on International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61850, an important international standard defining communication protocols for intelligent electronic devices at electrical substations.
According to Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables, the company is keen to support the growth of both onshore and offshore wind energy in UK, one of their 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,” he said.
Construction of the wind farm is due to begin onshore at its Teesside converter station site early next year, with offshore construction expected to get underway in 2023.