H&W’s superstructure to set sail

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A Belfast-made steel structure designed for processing renewable energy will set sail for Germany tomorrow

The 7,500 tonne offshore transformer, partly built by Harland and Wolff in a multi-million pound contract, will sit on the sea bed north of Germany where it will convert the energy of 60 offshore wind turbines and connect it to the European grid system.

Just four of the transformers would be enough to meet Northern Ireland’s electricity needs as one of them can generate 400mW, the equivalent of Kilroot power station.

Harland and Wolff workers took around four months to build the structure’s ‘jacket’, made up of legs and a tubular frame — while a Latvian yard constructed a platform containing a canteen, health clinic and sleeping quarters for 30 people.

Small tug boats will tow the transformer out of the Harland and Wolff building dock and then ocean-going tugs will take over and escort the structure to its destination, around 90 miles north of the German island of Borkum. The journey is expected to take around five days. The platform will be raised to the top of the structure to resemble an oil rig without a drill.

The coveted contract was awarded to Harland & Wolff by German offshore construction company Weserwind GmbH.

David McVeigh, head of sales and marketing at Harland and Wolff, said the contract consolidated the company’s prowess in renewable energy.

“This is a significant win for a number of reasons,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“The platform, specifically designed and built for the offshore wind farm industry, demands high precision co-ordination among a number of specialist manufacturers across Europe — and is proof of our ability to diversify and be a bigger player in the offshore wind energy industry.”

Harland and Wolff recently completed a contract for the assembly of 60 wind turbines intended for an offshore site near the south west Scottish coast of the Irish Sea.

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