Reef Subsea has successfully completed its campaign of installing and burying inter-array power cables on the Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm. The wind farm is owned by RWE Innogy and partners and is one of the largest in the world, located 13 kilometres off the North Wales coast in Liverpool Bay.

The work scope included project management, engineering and installation of 124 inter array cables over the course of 20 months. Gwynt y Môr is not only a landmark achievement for the UK renewables industry, but it is also the largest project Reef Subsea has completed to date and will be used as a benchmark against forthcoming offshore wind farms projects.

For Reef Subsea, the project has been a fundamental part of the last two years and included some significant milestones. One of these was the £5million investment in specialised subsea equipment including a cable lay spread and an SMD built HDIA Plough which was designed, built and used in the first instance for the project. As a burial method, ploughing has often been overlooked in favour of other solutions but by introducing the HDIA Plough, and trusting in the technology, Reef Subsea demonstrated that ploughing is an efficient and effective method of cable burial.

In addition, the delivery of the project saw Reef Subsea award significant services to a number of companies including the provision of crew transfer vessels, diving and cable installation support and supply of cable protection. The project employed upwards of 250 people per day at the height of construction and has made a significant contribution to the renewables subsea industry.

Duncan MacPherson, Chief Executive at Reef Subsea, said of the project, “When we were awarded the contract for Gwynt y Môr back in 2012, we knew that the project would test us and it didn’t disappoint. We utilised our experience, skilled team and bespoke asset to plough through the challenging soil conditions of the Irish Sea and lay the cables to the satisfaction of the client – all in a safe manner and whilst setting our own Reef Subsea record of installing the final four cables in three days in order to beat the adverse weather. To complete a project of this size is a great way to end the year and gives us inspiration for the projects ahead”

RWE Innogy UK’s Project Director for Gwynt y Môr, Toby Edmonds, said: “Completing the installation of all 161 array cables at Gwynt y Môr was a tremendous success for the RWE and Reef Subsea project teams, who worked closely together throughout. At the height of installation, Reef Subsea brought in a second vessel, The Polar King, which dramatically increased installation progress enabling them to complete installation before the winter period. The completion of array cables has brought to an end the installation phase at Gwynt y Môr and we are now focusing on final commissioning of the last remaining turbines.”

RWE expects that the wind farm will be fully operational in early 2015 and will supply power for up to 400,000 homes.

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