An unusual vessel is working off the West Cumbrian coast to prepare for the installation of the 60-turbine Robin Rigg wind farm.
The MV Resolution is the world’s first purpose-built vessel for installing offshore wind turbines and has been carrying out investigations of the site in the Solway Firth where energy firm E.On UK Renewables plans to erect 60 masts.
The 130-metre vessel has been doing site investigations relating to foundations and the eventual design of the turbines, which will supply power to 140,000 homes.
The work is being done prior to the finalisation of contracts for the work and announcement about a starting date will not be made until then.
Delays in the tendering process have held up progress.
The Robin Rigg site is seven miles offshore, in the Solway Firth and the turbines will be 426 feet above sea level, making them the largest in the county.
The 140,000 tonne Resolution is operated by Marine Projects International Ltd, of Middlesbrough, and is one of just two vessels in the world designed for offshore wind farm installation.
The Resolution can be quickly converted from a vessel to a working platform by two cutting-edge technologies. It is manoeuvred into position and then 48 hydraulic cylinders jack it clear of the water at a rate of one metre per minute.
There are 70 berths for the crew, and the Resolution’s facilities include offices, a hospital, a gym, coffee shop, galley, laundry and mess room.
It can work in water depths of between three and 35 metres and can carry up to 10 turbines, which are lifted into position by two giant cranes.
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