Sembcorp Marine Ltd. and GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions have secured a contract from RWE Renewables on March 29 to supply the high voltage direct current (HVDC) electrical transmission system for the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.

Located on Dogger Bank, 195 km off the north east coastline of U.K. in the central North Sea, Sofia spans an area of 593 sq km. With a capacity of 1.4 gigawatt (GW) that will power the equivalent of nearly 1.2 million U.K. homes with clean and renewable energy, Sofia will be one of the largest wind farms in the world when completed.

Artist’s impression of Sofia Wind Farm’s HVDC offshore converter platform. (Source: Sembcorp Marine Ltd.)

Sembcorp Marine and GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions began early design works for the project in July 2020, after being chosen as the preferred supplier of the HVDC electrical transmission system. The HVDC system represents Sofia’s second largest contract and is worth approximately £600 million (US$829 million).

The contract work scope comprises the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the offshore converter platform (OCP) and the onshore converter station (OCS), including all ancillary equipment. Sembcorp Marine’s scope of work includes the design, construction, installation and commissioning of the OCP.

The OCP, at the heart of the wind farm, comprises a 17,000-tonne topside and jacket foundation structure piled into the seabed 220 km from the nearest shore. It will be the most powerful and most remote OCP ever built.

“Signing this contract with the consortium of GE’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine for the supply of Sofia’s HVDC electrical system reflects RWE’s strong commitment to innovation and to pushing the boundaries of what is capable within the sector,” Sven Utermöhlen, COO of Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables, said. “The 1.4GW Sofia project is our first to use the HVDC technology, which was selected to maximize the wind farm’s export capacity from a location so far from shore. We are delighted to be working with such a strong pairing on the delivery of this flagship project located on the remote Dogger Bank, in the middle of the North Sea.”

With this contract win, Sembcorp Marine strengthens its position in the renewable energy segment, validating its strategy to transform itself into an innovative engineering solutions provider in the offshore, marine and energy industries with a focus on sustainability.

Construction of the offshore converter platform by Sembcorp Marine will start this year with delivery and installation at the Wind Farm site in 2023.