Bad weather causes delay to Sheringham Shoal windfarm project

Great Yarmouth firm Seajacks is to dispatch another jack-up vessel after bad weather has caused delays to a project to build 88 wind turbines off the coast of Norfolk.

It's 76m Seajacks Leviathan vessesl, which operates out of Great Yarmouth port, will arrive at the Sheringham Shoal wind farm project in February.

Scira, which is running the project, said that 'unseasonally' poor weather in the area had caused the delay.

The state-of-the-art vessel has been contracted until the end of July for the Scira Offshore Energy project.

The wind farm now has 20 of the 88 Siemens 3.6MW turbines installed, and has been generating power since the start of August.

Scira said that progress had been slower than anticipated due to the weather conditions and rough seas, which have been significantly worse this year than statistically average in the Greater Wash.

The Seajacks Leviathan will join the 76m GMS Endeavour, a technically similar turbine installation vessel, in carrying two turbines at a time from Great Yarmouth to the site, 20km off the coast of north Norfolk.

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Leviathan will replace the 91m purpose-built jack-up barge SEA JACK which will soon move to another offshore wind farm development after four months on the Sheringham Shoal project.

Seajacks Leviathan has significant turbine installation experience having worked on both the 140 turbine 500MW Greater Gabbard project off the Suffolk and Essex coast and the 102 turbine 367MW Walney Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea.

The vessel can operate with a significant wave height of 2m and when wind is up to 10.8 metres per second.

Sheringham Shoal project director Rune R�nvik said the project's original completion date was early 2012 however this has now been revised to the middle of the year due to the recent weather conditions and need to work in a safe environment.

'Having brought Seajacks Leviathan on board, with her significant experience and technical capabilities, we are confident we will be able to keep as close to our revised schedule as possible,' Mr R�nvik said. 'In addition to the new vessel, we will introduce other measures including the implementation of a real-time weather, wave and wind farm data monitoring system that will enable us to capitalise on smaller weather windows and maintain our progress.'

Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm is owned equally by Statoil and Statkraft through joint venture company Scira Offshore Energy Limited. Statoil is the project manager during construction, while Scira will be responsible for the long-term operations and maintenance.