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    Offshore handling know-how secures 'soft landing' contract for EB

    Equipment & Technology // March 1, 2006

    The Engineering Business is supplying BOWTIS equipment and expertise.

    Lifting a land-based 85m high wind turbine, weighing 950 tonnes, and placing it accurately and ‘softly’ onto its mounting is a complex enough task – carrying out this task offshore in deepwater while lifting from a floating barge presents a whole new set of challenges. Having the ‘know how’ to meet these challenges has won a prestigious contract for offshore handling specialists The Engineering Business.

    Based in Riding Mill, Northumberland, The Engineering Business (EB) will supply installation equipment, called the Beatrice Offshore Wind Turbine Installation System (BOWTIS) to enable the safe installation of two 5MW wind turbine generators on the UK Continental Shelf adjacent to the Beatrice Alpha platform.

    The project requires EB to design and supply 480 tonnes of specialist equipment.

    At more than 23km from shore on the Moray Firth, and at 45m water depth, the installation is a step change in technology as turbines to date have been installed at depths of less than 10m, usually closer to shore. 

    Installing these large turbine structures fully assembled is a new innovation designed to reduce the cost and meet the challenge of  deepwater operations. Benefits of reduced installation time are significant when considering future deepwater offshore wind farms of 200 or more turbines.

    Tony Trapp, Managing Director of EB, explained: “This is a natural development for EB’s expertise in designing and building systems for the offshore oil and gas, and defence industries.  We are particularly pleased to receive this order as the project will progress the technology developed under the recent EB Merlin offshore wind turbine installation programme which was part funded by the DTI.”

    Subject to the necessary approvals, offshore installation will be carried out during summer 2006 with commissioning complete and first power available in the fourth quarter of 2006.

    The Beatrice project, principally funded by Talisman and Scottish and Southern Energy, aims to prove the commercial viability of deepwater offshore wind. Additional backing is being provided by the Scottish Executive, the DTI and the European Commission.

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