E.ON to Decommission Offshore Blyth Project

UK's First Wind Farm Decommissioned

Energy firm E.ON said it plans to decommission the Blyth offshore wind project, the first wind farm built in UK waters, marking a new phase for breakbulk activity in the sector.
The UK offshore sector has seen a boom in new projects in the last year, with the world’s largest wind farm, Hornsea 1, coming online in early 2019, but as older sites near end of life, demand for decommissioning breakbulk transport is growing.
“Blyth Offshore Wind Farm holds a special significance for us all at E.ON as our – and the UK’s – first offshore development. Through Blyth, we were able to demonstrate to the watching world that the technology worked, and we’ve been able to use our experience and learning to go on to develop a further 1.5 gigawatts of wind capacity off the UK coast,” said Patrick Rainey, offshore technical specialist at E.ON.

Local Suppliers
E.ON expects to employ local breakbulk specialists and suppliers as much as possible, and will recycle one turbine for spare parts within E.ON’s onshore project. The other turbine will used for training purposes by the Port of Blyth.
“The legacy of the first British offshore wind farm is a test area in the Blyth region … This hub for innovation at sea is a starting point, which has seen the UK subsequently develop into a world leader in offshore wind,” an E.ON spokesperson said.
Blyth offshore project was developed by a consortium comprising E.ON, UK Renewables, Shell Renewables, Nuon UK and AMEC Wind.
Dismantling work and breakbulk transport will start in April and is expected to take four to six weeks.

Offshore Decommissioning to Ramp Up
The market for decommissioning older wind farms is expected to grow significantly over the coming years as facilities near end of life and newer, more efficient technology comes into play.
“The volume of offshore wind decommissioning will ramp up slowly, mirroring the build rate, with turbine sizes and site conditions becoming more challenging … In contrast the decommissioning activities of the offshore oil and gas sector began over 30 years ago and a large body of experience and specialized techniques has been developed and continues to evolve. With care, the offshore wind sector can benefit greatly from this extensive experience, whilst keeping aware of distinct differences between the two sectors,” said Gillian Smith, wind energy engineer.

By 2035 it is estimated that 2 gigawatts of wind power projects will be decommissioned each year, representing 500 turbines.

Photo: Blyth wind farm. Credit: E.ON