A second barge may be drafted in to get work on the £325m Robin Rigg windfarm back on schedule.
The 60-turbine project off the west Cumbrian coast has fallen behind its construction timetable after being dogged by a number of setbacks.
But power firm E.ON hopes engineers will be able to take advantage of clear summer weather to gain ground and edge closer to its completion target of spring next year once work restarts in May.
Work on the scheme – one of the biggest offshore windfarms in the UK – started last year, but began later than expected after jack-up barge the Lisa A was late arriving on site in August.
Just a few weeks later, 38 workers had to be rescued from the barge when it began capsizing after rig legs punctured the seabed, causing it to list while working in the Solway Firth. Another barge – the MV Resolution – was brought in to keep work going while the Lisa A underwent repairs in Belfast, but it has since been sent off to continue projects it was already booked for.
An E.ON spokesman said: “We are behind, but we are hoping to get back on schedule – or as close as we can – and get back in the water again in May. We will probably have more than one vessel out there.
“There are a number of factors we cannot plan for – not least the weather – then we had barge problems so early on.
“We are behind schedule, but hopefully we can get things back together.”
Once complete, the Robin Rigg windfarm – 7.5 miles off the coast of Maryport – will generate enough energy to power about 150,000 homes.
If two barges are brought in, they are expected to work in tandem to get the 60 foundations in place. Once that work is complete, engineers will begin to put the 420ft-high turbines in place.
E.ON executives have already promised a new risk assessment of the Lisa A following September’s accident. Their pledge came after Workington MP Tony Cunningham demanded public reassurance that the sea bed under the sand bank was stable enough to support the turbines.
By Chris Story
26 March 2008
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