Tests are getting under way off Redcar to pave the way for a controversial offshore wind farm.
EDF Energy is carrying out site investigation tests and surveys on the seabed in the vicinity of the proposed Teesside Offshore Wind Farm site.
Weather permitting, the work is due to run from early December until the New Year.
It will be carried out by Glover Site Investigation Ltd using a jack-up barge positioned offshore. About 15 bore holes will be drilled and 30 cone penetration tests (CPTs) made.
The bore holes and CPTs sample the seabed down to 40m below the sea floor.
The data obtained will help EDF’s project team evaluate potential foundation designs for the wind turbines.
The planned work has been discussed with port authority PD Teesport and agreed with relevant authorities.
Notices have been issued to local fishermen and an offshore fisheries liaison representative will be on board the barge during the tests.
EDF Energy has also offered safety training for local fishermen’s representatives, with an eye on the current and future activities.
EDF Energy’s head of renewables, Jeremy Bush, said: “This survey forms part of a series of further studies and monitoring to determine how best to take the project forward.
“Following satisfactory conclusion to this work, it is expected that construction will then go out to tender with a view to commissioning the wind farm around 2011.
“I am also delighted at this very early stage to be able to provide training for representatives of the local fishermen and that they will be participating in the planned site investigations. I look forward to their continued involvement in the project.
“We will, of course, continue to consult with and inform the local community and other stakeholders on our progress.”
The project received consent from the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in September.
The proposed wind farm will consist of up to 30 turbines, less than a mile from shore and capable of producing up to 90MW of electricity – enough to supply around 60,000 households a year.
But Redcar and Cleveland Council has outlined concerns about the proximity of the turbines to the shore and is considering seeking a judicial review on the decision.
And protest group Save Our Shoreline (SOS) says it isn’t against renewable energy, but opposes the close proximity of the wind farm to the beach.
by Dave Robson
10 December 2007
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