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GE Consortium to build HVDC system for RWE Sofia offshore wind farm

UK: A specially formed consortium of GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine is set to supply the state-of-the-art system for Sofia, one of the world’s largest offshore wind farm projects.

With the selection of the preferred suppliers, RWE has moved a step closer to the realisation of its 1.4 GW Sofia offshore wind farm.

Located on Dogger Bank, the shallow area of the central North Sea, 195 km from the UK coast’s nearest point.

GE’s Grid Solutions will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of two HVDC converter stations capable of transmitting 1,400 MW of power at 320 kV. Innovative converter modules and a new high-tech control system have been deployed for Sofia. It will be the most powerful offshore converter station ever fabricated and will be installed at a point 220 km from shore, so it will also be the most remote.

Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables, said, “We are keen to support the growth of both onshore and offshore wind energy in UK, one of our core markets in Europe. The choice of GE’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine for the supply of the electrical system is an important statement of our commitment to grow our renewables portfolio in the UK and reflects our ambition to strive for continuous innovation in the development, construction and operation of our offshore wind farms.”

The project will be based on GE Grid‘s latest technology, utilising its second-generation voltage source convertor valve and featuring the first application of its state-of-the-art eLumina™ HVDC Control System. eLumina is the industry’s first HVDC solution to use a digital measurement system fully based on IEC 61850.

“We are delighted to be chosen as the consortium leader for Sofia Offshore Wind Farm,” said Raj Iyer, Grid Integration Leader at GE’s Grid Solutions. “This is recognition of our advanced technology, specifically our eLumina HVDC Control System and second-generation converter modules, as well as our expertise in delivering this type of complex HVDC solution.”

The offshore converter platform will be built and installed by Sembcorp Marine. At the heart of the wind farm, it will comprise a 10,000 t topside attached to a jacket foundation piled into the seabed. The onshore converter station will convert the electricity generated by the wind farm to 400 kV, before it enters the national grid.

Construction of the wind farm is due to begin onshore at its Teesside converter station site early next year, with offshore construction expected to get underway in 2023.

Source: GE