Construction challenges on world’s biggest offshore wind farm to be showcased at SNS2018

Solutions to challenges during construction of the world’s biggest and furthest out to sea offshore wind farm will be showcased at the the East of England’s largest energy event.

Benj Sykes, Vice President, Head of Programme Asset Management and UK Country Manager for Danish company Ørsted, will outline the “exciting technology” used in the company’s first Hornsea Project on the stage at SNS2018 in Norwich next month.

Tensions between pushing boundaries of technology and innovation while managing risk pose ever-present challenges in the development of any offshore wind farm, he will tell the conference.

As wind farms are built further from shore, using bigger turbines, the parameters of engineering and technology are being – and will continue to be – stretched even further.

Completing operations in turbulent weather in more exposed sites further from shore will be an increasing challenge in offshore wind development, he will say.

Mr Sykes will be on the stage twice on the second day of the conference, Thursday May 17, at the Norfolk Showground, where more than 70 companies will exhibit, organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

The co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, with the Energy Minister, he will also speak about the work he is leading to develop a Sector Deal for offshore wind in support of the government’s Industrial Strategy. 

With 174 Siemens Gamesa turbines, the 1.2GW Hornsea Project One will be the biggest offshore wind farm in the world when it is completed off the Yorkshire coast in 2020.

Hornsea Project One is currently under construction with the first jacket of three offshore substations installed and the first offshore cable of 900 km of cable laid in April. Ørsted is planning Hornsea Two and Three to follow.

At more than 100km from shore, covering an area of about 407 square km – more than five times the size of Hull – Hornsea Project One is further offshore than any other offshore wind farm, which has presented fresh challenges, not least in logistics, Mr Sykes said.

Capable of powering more than a million UK homes, it is also the one of the world’s longest HVAC transmission systems to be installed offshore.

“Industrialisation of offshore wind has been taken to a new level on Hornsea Project One,” he said.

“There have been more challenges in the design than other projects because of the scale and that it is so far from shore

“Logistics and project management have presented the biggest challenges.”

Hornsea Project One will use the world’s first offshore reactive compensation station, which enables the high voltage AC system to work with cable lengths longer than those previously used for offshore wind, and an innovative walk-to-work system for its construction engineers and technicians.

“I will talk about how we are tackling the challenges of construction so far from shore, how we are working with the UK supply chain and bringing new players into the sector who haven’t worked in offshore wind and how we are deepening the work of those already in the supply chain.

“Hornsea Project One is a great story in terms of the project and engineering for those interested from the technical point of view, as well as those interested in it from a supply chain perspective.”

“Due to its scale and distance from shore there are a lot of firsts. It is exciting technology.”

The “innovative” walk to work system means technicians will be able to walk from the offshore accommodation straight on to the transition piece by a gangway rather than be transferred by boat, he said, avoiding the need to transfer in the more extreme weather conditions that far from shore.

“Hornsea Two will be even bigger than Hornsea One. We are treating them as two different projects joined at the hip, constructing, in total, 2.6GW of offshore wind.”

Challenges have been overcome by the innovation and ambition of the supply chain, Mr Sykes said.

‘It is testament to the fact that the industrialisation of the supply chain has been keeping up with the growing size of sites and turbines, including installation of cables, turbines and other components by using bigger vessels.”

Mr Sykes will also be presenting a session about the Offshore Wind Sector Deal on May 17.

Other renewables presentations at the conference include Andy Paine, Deputy UJ Country Manager for Vattenfall, Stuart Thornton, of Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, Martin Dronfield, of James Fisher Marine Services.

The conference will also focus on the oil & gas and nuclear industry and skills development in the east of England.

To book a delegate ticket, visit


Photo captions:

Credit: Ørsted

Benj Sykes, of Ørsted, wil outline the “exciting technology” and engineering solutions to the challenges of building offshore wind farms further from shore.

Download a high-resolution image here:

Produced and distributed on behalf of EEEGR by TMS Media

Contact: Rachel Moore, TMS Media

T: 01493 662929


Siofra Driver, EEEGR

T: 01493 412190

E: 01493 412190


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The Team

Angela Grey

Angela Grey is the newest member of the team at OrbisEnergy and joined as Centre Coordinator in July 2017.  She brings over 20 years experience of sales and customer service.

Angela is new to offshore renewables and is eager to build a sound knowledge of the industry.

Devon Mills

Devon has joined the team at OrbisEnergy as an Administration Coordinator in November 2014 and more recently a Senior Coordinator in January 2016. Having previously worked within various customer service roles she is pleased to be able to apply her skills and knowledge to her position at OrbisEnergy.

She is keen to build a strong understanding within the Offshore Renewable industry, whilst being able to develop a good mind for business and sales.

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