Last year our contractors Jones Bros Balfour Beatty JV completed 76 turbine foundations and 80km of new or upgraded access track. This year is all about turbine installations!
Since November 2015, Siemens our turbine supplier, have been delivering turbine components to site. Towards the end of this summer, they expect to have completed the delivery of 912 loads, including 658 abnormal loads. The longest components are the blades at 55 metres long (just over half the distance between the goal posts and halfway line of a rugby pitch). The heaviest component is the nacelle at 81 tonnes (the equivalent weight of 7 double decker buses). The nacelle houses the generating components of the turbine, the reason why it is so heavy.
The work of installing turbines began in late January. You may have seen ‘stumps’ in the forest and each will soon be a completed turbine, with the first ones due for completion in early April. Each turbine will stand at 145metres to the tip of the blade. The progress of turbine installation depends (ironically) on wind conditions – the cranes are not permitted to lift the turbine components when strong winds are blowing. If weather conditions are good, a crane can complete a turbine installation in around 12 hours. Each turbine tower section is lifted into place, followed by the nacelle and then the rotor, which is pre-assembled on the ground before it is lifted into place.
Siemens expect to have completed the turbine installation phase by the end of 2016.