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Investigative works begin under first major contract for Awel y Môr offshore wind farm

Work to investigate the geology of the north Wales coast is set to start, as part of the first major contract issued for the Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm following the award of development consent.

The Seafox 7 jack-up barge has departed Holyhead and will spend up to six months off the north Wales coast as contractors Fugro take borehole samples from the seabed.

These samples will help the Awel y Môr team map out the underlying geology in order to refine turbine installation methods and fine-tune locations.

It follows the award of a marine licence by Natural Resource Wales for the work earlier this year.

Tamsyn Rowe, RWE Project Lead for  Awel y Môr said: “With the development consent order in place, the Awel y Môr project is now entering a new phase, with this being the first major contract awarded as we begin the work necessary for construction to take place. 

“The seabed in Liverpool Bay reflects the landscape onshore in Wales, in that much of it was formed in the wake of the last ice age, with harder and softer rocks in different layers across the array area, presenting a fascinating opportunity to learn more about our surroundings. 

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“This also presents a unique challenge for innovation in engineering; one that RWE has continually risen to since we developed the UK’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm at North Hoyle, right here in north Wales.” 

The Seafox 7 is a 113-berth four-legged, self-elevating jack-up barge used for construction,  maintenance and other services that is capable of operating throughout the year in depths of up to 40m. 

Matthew Chappell, Fugro’s Nearshore Regional Service Line Director for Europe and Africa said: “Fugro is proud to be a part of this significant milestone for the Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm project. Our expertise in nearshore seabed site investigations and geological sampling will play a crucial role in helping the Awel y Môr team refine their turbine installation methods and make informed decisions about site locations.

“We look forward to working closely with RWE and the Awel y Môr team in this initial phase, setting the stage for the clean energy transformation that will benefit local communities and the environment.”

RWE has more than two decades’ experience in offshore wind in the UK, having developed and built the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in 2003 at North Hoyle. 

RWE has a strong future pipeline in the UK and is involved in four of the UK’s seven offshore wind extension projects, plus two Round 4 Dogger Bank South projects. 

In north Wales, RWE is also progressing plans for onshore wind farms at Gaerwen and Alwen.  The company also has ambitions to develop floating wind in the Celtic Sea region.

RWE is developing Awel y Môr with project partners Stadtwerke München (30 per cent) and Siemens Financial Services (10 per cent).