RWE Innogy UK has completed the installation of all 160 foundations at the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay, off the North Wales coast.

Friedrich Ernestine, a jack up installation vessel built and operated by RWE Innogy’s subsidiary RWE OLC, has installed the final transition piece at Gwynt y Mor on 23 April 2014. This installation marks the completion of the vessel’s scope of work at the wind farm.

The jack up installation vessel was fitted with a reverse circulation pile top drill for its scope of work at Gwynt y Môr wind farm. UK-based LDD designed and built the LDD500 pile top reverse circulation drilling rig and has also provided a team to operate the drill offshore.

RWE Innogy UK Gwynt y Môr project director Toby Edmonds said that this is a tremendous milestone for the project.

"Foundations consist of a monopile and a transition piece and the first of these was installed on 8th August 2012, using the heavy lift vessel, Stanislav Yudin.

"Since then a number of other vessels, including the Friedrich Ernestine, have joined the project to carry out foundation installation activity, which is always a technically challenging part of the construction process.

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The £2bn Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm will have 160 Siemens 3.6MW turbines. The wind farm, claimed to be world’s second largest, is scheduled to come online by the end of 2014.

"The wind farm, claimed to be world’s second largest, is scheduled to come online by the end of 2014."

Once operational, the wind farm will have an installed capacity of 576MW and will be capable of generating enough energy to meet the average annual energy needs of around 400,000 homes. Funding for the project was provided by RWE Innogy, Stadtwerke München and Siemens.

"With this achievement behind us we can focus on installing the final 19 turbines, commissioning the entire array and bringing on line a highly capable renewable energy source, powered from the UK’s own freely available natural resources and able to support approximately 400,000 homes," Edmonds added.

To date, the construction of the Gwynt y Môr wind farm has enabled the injection of more than £350m into the UK supply chain.

In addition to this, the wind farm has created employment for more than 2,500 people in the UK and is expected to sustain more than 100 jobs in the long term through a new operations and maintenance base that is being built at the Port of Mostyn in North Wales.

Image: Friedrich Ernestine completes first commission at Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm. Photo: courtesy of RWE Innogy UK