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Dorking members take a boat trip to rampion offshore wind farm

10 September 2019

Rampion Wind Farm’s offshore substation took two years to build

This summer 13 members from Dorking Hub boarded a catamaran from Brighton Marina to head into the channel to visit the £1bn Rampion Wind Farm.

Around 13km – or seven nautical miles – from Brighton Marina, the wind farm is clearly visible from shore, but the sheer size and scale of the metal giants is only really to be appreciated from a close encounter.

E.ON was awarded rights to develop the zone off the Sussex coast as part of the Crown Estate’s third licensing round in 2010, planning consent was finally granted in July 2014 and onshore construction commenced with a 27km cable route. First making landfall off the coast at Worthing and buried underground, it goes through farms, fields and crosses roads, before terminating at a large electrical substation near Henfield. The cable routing is visible on satellite imaging.

There are 116 wind turbine generators installed in the array, each one standing around 140m high. The length of each blade is around 55m long, with the turbine hubs around 80m above sea level.

Each turbine sits on top of single steel monopiles weighing between 550 and 830 tonnes each, with lengths between 60 to 85m – each one designed and produced to individual specifications, with the size dependent on the water depth and the conditions of the seabed at its specific location.

The monopiles were designed by Bristol-based LIC Energy and were fabricated by SIF in the Netherlands.

Some 144 km of array cables join 10 turbines each on the seabed. These feed into an offshore substation, where the electricity generated by the turbines is transformed from 33kV up to 150kV.

The substation is the most complex single component of the wind farm, weighing around 3,000 tonnes and taking almost two years to build at Babcock International Group’s facility at Rosyth in Scotland. Two parallel cables transmit the power back to shore.

The wind farm , which  was completed in 2018 and is now fully operational, produces 1,400GWh – supplying the equivalent of 350,000 homes with electricity each year.

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