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There is a huge market for offshore wind foundations, both within the North Sea and globally.
Unlike steel foundations, self-buoyant gravity base foundations (GBF) are mass-produced locally using conventional civil engineering construction skills.
They are potentially economical in the water depth range of 35-60m, depending on ground and/or environmental conditions.
Windfarm developer EdF Renewable Energy is building a demonstration project 8km off the coast of Blyth. The GBFs comprise two elements, a concrete caisson and a steel shaft. The caissons are being constructed in the Neptune dry dock on the Tyne by BAM. The shafts are being fabricated in the Netherlands and shipped to Newcastle where BAM will install them into the caisson.
Once assembled the complete GBF will be floated out of the dry dock and towed to Blyth where they will be immersed to take up their permanent position on the seabed. They will then be ballasted with sand and the wind turbine generators installed and generate 41.5MW of low carbon electricity to power 33 000 homes.
Gavin Gerrard, BSc (Hons), C.Eng, MICE, Operations Manager BAM –
Gavin Gerrard is BAM’s Operations Manager for the Blyth Offshore Windfarm Gravity Base Foundation contract and holds overall responsibility for BAM’s input to this complex and challenging civil engineering project. He has been associated with the scheme since October 2014 and was involved in locating a suitable construction site for the foundations and the detailed design. A Chartered civil engineer with 30 years of experience, Gavin has been involved in the construction of other large floating reinforced concrete structures such as the Royal Navy Armament Depot at Coulport and the BP Harding Field Gravity Foundations.