Dogger Bank offshore wind farm has reached a key milestone by installing an unmanned high voltage direct current (HVDC) offshore substation.

Considered to be the world’s first unmanned offshore platform, it was manufactured by Aibel, a Norway-based offshore services provider.

The substation platform was deployed at the offshore wind farm, which is divided into three 1.2GW phases, A, B and C.

Delivered and installed by contractor Sapiem at Dogger Bank A, the new platform is 65m in length, 36m in breadth and 39m in height.

It was installed on a four-legged steel jacket foundation fixed in the seabed at a depth of approximately 28m.

The offshore substation is located 146km from Flamborough Head, a promontory near Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, UK.

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The substation platform is reported to be lean in its design. It is also the first unmanned HVDC platform that can be operated from an onshore location.

The platform can only be accessed through a service operations vessel.

It will receive 1.2GW of alternating current from Dogger Bank A’s wind turbines, which will be converted into direct current to be transmitted onshore to a converter station at Beverley in the East Riding.

The platform also features HVDC converter technology that ensures efficient transmission of technology while losses are kept to a minimum.

Supplied by Hitachi Energy, the platform is described as the first offshore wind farm in the UK to utilise this technology.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm project director Olly Cass said: “The safe and successful installation of the offshore platform marks a major milestone in the Dogger Bank project. As the UK’s first HVDC platform for an offshore wind farm, it is also a major milestone for the UK industry more widely.

“The platform will be controlled from shore, and by removing the need for personnel to stay on the platform [it has been] possible to eliminate elements such as the living quarters, helideck and sewage systems, resulting in a 70% reduction in weight (per megawatt) of the topside compared to previous platforms installed, and [achieving] cost savings of hundreds of millions of pounds.”