Finish of Beatrice Preparation Work
Jarrow-based Wescott Industrial Services have ensured that the two Offshore Transformer Modules (OTM) which will become a crucial part of the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm were ready for installation in the New Year after a gruelling five month contract at Methil which saw a crew of some 44 blasters and painters working around the clock to prepare and coat the steel surfaces.
Tom Whittleton, Operations Director of Wescott Industrial Services, explained the challenges of the project, “We began the work, originally for Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) Ltd but latterly working directly for Siemens, back in August. At that time we provided our own crews of highly trained and experienced blasters, painters and supervisors who are mainly ex-shipyard workers, and gradually more than doubled the numbers as deadlines approached. The pressure to complete the work by the Christmas shutdown, when most of the scaffolding comes down, was obviously quite intense but the men were fantastic and we finished perfectly on schedule.”
“With any external works in winter, the cold environment brings its own challenges, especially for spray painting the hi-tech coatings we now use on offshore structures. The coatings are a vital element for protecting the offshore structures which are exposed to a variety of harsh environments that are seriously damaging to their protective coatings as well as general operational damage – constant humidity with high salinity, intensive UV light and wave action in splash areas are the perfect conditions for enhanced corrosion.”
“This was a large project for us involving the erection of temporary structures to keep the steel and coatings relatively warm. We also applied Intersleek anti-fouling coatings on subsea structures which bring their own challenges in coating but the whole operation went extremely well and we’re looking forward to more work from a great client here.”
A Siemens representative added, “Wescott Industrial Services provided fully competent teams of men that were experienced in their respective fields of supervision, inspection, rope access, blasting and spraying to work on the Beatrice OWF structures.”
“All work undertaken by Wescott Industrial Services was completed to a high standard, meeting all project quality requirements. The level of professionalism and the manner in the way all personnel from Wescott Industrial Services conducted themselves whilst working on this project is a credit to their management. The flexibility and willingness of Wescott Coatings management and site personnel to work with other parties on site was a real benefit in helping push this project to a completion through challenging times.”
Located in the Moray Firth, the Beatrice Offshore Wind farm project will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm, comprising of 84 giant Siemens turbines and providing 588MW capacity when fully operational in 2019, enough to power some 450,000 homes. The £2.6bn investment has seen onshore construction since 2016 with the offshore construction commencing in April 2107. The 84 jackets, which are up to 80m tall, have been fabricated not only at Methil, but also in Newcastle, Belgium and Denmark.
The huge blades of the 154m diameter turbines are manufactured at Siemens’ facility in Hull which employs 1,000 people. Each turbine is capable of generating 690 volts which is transformed in the turbine nacelle up to 33,000 volts. The electricity is sent by a series of ‘inter-array’ cables linking the turbines to two offshore transformer modules which will transform the electricity again up to 220,000 volts.
The electricity will then be sent via subsea cables to landfall west of Portgordon (a distance of around 60km). Once ashore, the electricity will be sent a further 20km via underground cables to the Beatrice substation at Blackhillock which transforms the electricity up to 400,000 volts for onward transmission on the National Grid after passing through the neighbouring Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks substation.
Established in 2010, Wescott Industrial Services work primarily in the Offshore, Transport Infrastructure and Industrial Facilities sectors, enjoying an annual turnover of over £5m and employing some 50 full time managerial, supervisory and multi discipline operatives with the ability to employ temporary onsite crews employed for specific projects to suit requirements. As of 31 December 2017 the company has enjoyed working over 850,000 hours LTI free. The company has their own training subsidiary at Jarrow providing rope access and safety training.