RWE has chosen Van Oord as the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) partner for the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, one of the world’s largest offshore wind projects. Van Oord will deploy its offshore installation vessel Aeolus and cable-layer Nexus for the project.

The 1.4-GW Sofia is sited on Dogger Bank in the central North Sea 195 kilometres from the North East coast of the UK, where Van Oord, through its UK branch MPI Offshore, will create a logistics hub to deliver the comprehensive scope of work. The Aeolus will install the 100 extended monopile foundations without transition pieces. The Nexus is to install the 350 kilometres of array cables. Van Oord will sub-contract the fabrication of the foundations and array cables.

Van Oord already worked closely with RWE on the construction of the Rampion, Humber Gateway, Robin Rigg and London Array offshore wind farms. According to Van Oord, Sofia presents the opportunity to further develop UK supply chain relationships, evolve construction techniques, and optimise the design of the foundations, which will be supporting some of the largest turbines currently on the market.

Onshore construction will get underway at Sofia’s converter station site in Teesside early next year. Work on the foundation and array package is set to begin after the project’s financial investment decision in Q1 2021, with installation scheduled for 2024.

‘By contributing to the realisation of one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, Van Oord is again at the forefront of projects that contribute to the transition to renewable energy,’ says Pieter van Oord, CEO of Van Oord. ‘Sofia will make a major contribution to the UK’s climate goals. The project will be executed by MPI Offshore from our Stokesley office in Teesside and will deliver excellent opportunities for the local supply chain and labour market and to support the industry’s UK Sector Deal ambitions’.