Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm

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Gunfleet Sands 1 & 2
Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm - - 2091181.jpg
The farm from a passing ship, 30 September 2010
CountryEngland, United Kingdom
LocationNorthern Thames Estuary 7 km (4.3 mi) off Clacton-on-Sea, Essex
Coordinates51°44′22″N 1°10′28″E / 51.73944°N 1.17444°E / 51.73944; 1.17444Coordinates: 51°44′22″N 1°10′28″E / 51.73944°N 1.17444°E / 51.73944; 1.17444
Construction began2008
Commission date2010
Owner(s)DONG Energy (51%)
Marubeni Corporation / Bank of Japan (remainder)
Wind farm
Power generation
Units operational48
Make and modelSiemens Wind Power SWT-3.6-107
Nameplate capacity172MW
Capacity factor~30-35%

Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm is a 172 MW wind farm about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) off the Clacton-on-Sea coast in the Northern Thames Estuary.

The 108MW Gunfleet Sands 1 wind farm gained planning consent in 2003/4; in 2006 Dong Energy (now Ørsted) acquired the project and submitted an application for a second 64MW windfarm Gunfleet Sands 2 adjacent to the first, which received consent in 2008. Construction of both wind farms using Siemens Wind Power SWT-3.6-107 took place between 2008 and 2010.

In 2010 planning began on a demonstration project Gunfleet Sands 3, used to test Siemens' 6MW wind turbine model; two 6MW turbines were installed in 2013.

Gunfleet Sands 1 & 2[edit]

Gunfleet Sands 1 & 2 are located 7 km south east of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK; in water at depths of 2 to 15 m (6 ft 7 in to 49 ft 3 in) (spring tidal range ~4.6m); Gunfleet 1 consists of 30 turbines in a 5x6 array, whilst Gunfleet 2 consists of a 9x2 array of turbines directly adjacent to the southeast; the installed capacities are 108 and 64MW respectively. The average wind speed is 8.8 m/s (29 ft/s) at 60m elevation.[1]

The offshore turbines connect to a 33kV offshore substation, which steps up the transmission voltage to 132kV; the export cable makes landfall at Holland Haven (nr. Holland-on-Sea), and underground cables connect it to the National Grid at the Cooks Green substation.[2][3]


Development of an offshore wind farm site near Clacton-on-Sea began in 1996 under Windmaster Developments;[4] Windmaster was acquired by Enron in 2000, and passed to General Electric (GE Wind Energy) in 2002.[5] A Round 1 concession for the development was awarded in 2001, and planning consents obtained in 2003/4.[1][6][7]

In June 2006 a consent application and environmental statement was submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry for permission to build and operate an extension (Gunfleet Sands 2) to the originally consented project, including up to 22 further turbines with an additional capacity of 64MW.[8] In December 2006 Dong Energy acquired the 100MW "Gunfleet 1" project from GE.[9]

A contract for 30 Siemens Wind Power 3.6MW turbines was signed in April 2007.[10]

Planning application for Gunfleet Sands 2 was submitted to the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in June 2007,[11] and permission was received in 2008.[1]


Turbines visible from Clacton-on-Sea beyond Clacton Pier

Construction began in 2008, with initial work including onshore infrastructure and cable installation.[11] A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held in April 2008.[12] The first turbine was installed in April 2009.[13]

MT Højgaard was contracted to instal the monopile foundations; work started in October 2008;[14] Sif supplied the monopiles and transition pieces,[15] and Smulders supplied the wind turbine foundations,[16]

The cabling was supplied by Prysmian,[17][18] Bladt Industries constructed the offshore monopile substation superstructure,[18][19] with electrical equipment supplied by Areva T&D and ABB Group.[18]

Construction of the wind farm was delayed, in part due to cable laying company Oceanteam going into administration in May 2009, as well as the breakdown of liftboat KS Titan 2.[20]

Electrical generation from the partially complete wind farm began in August 2009.[21] The wind farm was fully operational by March 2010; the wind farm was formally opened on 15 June 2010 by Anders Eldrup (Dong Energy) and UK Energy minister Charles Hendry. Cost of the development was 4 billion Danish Kroner.[22] Large scale development of wind farms in the UK was made possible by generous subsidies - in 2010 wind farms were receiving 1.20 Danish Kroner per kWh, compared to approximately 0.50 Kroner (Horns Rev 2) in Denmark.[23]

An operations and service center was built in Brightlingsea on the site of a former boatyard.[24][25][26]

Satellite image of the Thames Estuary with Gunfleet Sands top left.

Operational history[edit]

The wind farm produced between 450 and 520 GWh between 2010 and 2012, with a capacity factor of 31-35% (2011/12).[27]

The electrical transmission assets of the wind farm were divested in July 2011 to TC Gunfleet Sands OFTO Limited in response to changes in governmental legislation.[28] In September 2011 Marubeni Corporation acquired a 49.9% shareholding of the project for £200 million.[29] In 2013 Marubeni divested part of its stake to the Development Bank of Japan.[30]

During the St Jude storm of October 2013, wind speeds of 65 metres per second (150 mph) were measured at the wind farm.[31]

Gunfleet Sands 3[edit]

Gunfleet Sands 3
Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm - - 2091181.jpg
Official nameGunfleet Sands demonstration project
Coordinates51°42′11″N 1°11′28″E / 51.703°N 1.191°E / 51.703; 1.191
Power generation
Units operational2
Make and modelSiemens Wind Power SWT-6.0-120

A planning application for the Gunfleet Sands 3 - Demonstration Project (GFS 3) was submitted in 2010. The project consisted of a wind farm about 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi) 8.5 km southeast of Clacton-on-Sea, and adjacent to the Gunfleet 1 & 2 wind farms but southeast of them. The site was intended to be provide the facility to test new wind farm equipment in preparation of the Round 3 wind farm letting process. 2 wind turbine installations were proposed.[32]

The development required a separate export cable and grid connection to the Gunfleet 1&2 farms; a planning application for the onshore electrical facilities and cabling was submitted in November 2011.[33] Inter array and export cables (33kV) were supplied by JDR Cables.[34]

The monopile foundations and transition pieces were supplied by Bladt Industries and installed by Ballast Nedam in 2012.[35][36] Two Siemens 6MW turbines were installed in January 2013 by A2SEA.[37]

The site began generating power in April 2013.[38] Damage to one of the turbines blade tips necessitated blade replacement in mid 2013.[39] The facility was officially opened on 12 September 2013 by UK Energy Minister Greg Barker.[40][41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hjelmsted 2008, p. 6.
  2. ^ About Gunfleet Sands (Dong) Offshore substation
  3. ^ Sources:
  4. ^ Schoon, Nicholas (12 February 1997). "Giant turbines star in end of the pier show at Clacton".
  5. ^ "Wind Energy Power Plants in the UK - offshore". The Power Plants Around the World Photo Gallery ( Gunfleet Sands. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Essex sand bank is site for wind farm". 23 October 2003.
  7. ^ "The Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm Order 2004" (Statutory Instrument). 2004.
  8. ^ "Gunfleet Sands 2 – Project Briefing Note Number 1" (PDF). Dong Energy. 18 June 2006.
  9. ^ "DONG Energy expands its UK offshore wind portfolio". 18 December 2006.
  10. ^ "DONG Energy signs contract for delivery of wind turbines for Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm". 19 April 2007.
  11. ^ a b "Gunfleet Sands – Project Briefing Note Number 2" (PDF). Dong Energy. 11 February 2008.
  12. ^ "Gunfleet Sands – Project Briefing Note Number 3" (PDF). Dong Energy. 30 April 2008.
  13. ^ "First Round 2-turbine installed at DONG Energy's Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm project". 1 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Gunfleet Sands - a challenging location". 25 May 2010.
  15. ^ "Sif - References, Offshore wind" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Gunfleet Sands Project".
  17. ^ "Prysmian secures strategic cable contracts worth a total 35 Million Euro for major Offshore Wind Power Plants". (Press release). 14 November 2007.
  18. ^ a b c Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm (LORC) Substations, Inter-Array & Export Cables
  19. ^ "Gunfleet Sands Offshore".
  20. ^ Dwan, James. "Gunfleet Sands wind farm firm goes under".
  21. ^ "First power from the first Round 2 offshore wind farm — DONG Energy's Gunfleet Sands project". 20 August 2009.
  22. ^ Holm, Erik (15 June 2010). "Briterne runder 1 GW vindkraft". (in Danish).
  23. ^ Holm, Erik (16 June 2010). "Massiv udbygning skal gøre Storbritannien førende inden for havvind". (in Danish).
  24. ^ Brading, Wendy (17 January 2009). "Brightlingsea: Wind farm construction bringing money into town".
  25. ^ About Gunfleet Sands (Dong) Operation and maintenance
  26. ^ "(08/01225/FUL) Demolition of existing boat building yard and outbuildings and erection of new three storey office accommodation ..." Tendring District Council. 29 August 2009.
  27. ^ Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm (LORC) Production & Performance
  28. ^ "Terms in place for the divestment of the transmission assets af the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm". 19 July 2011.
  29. ^ "Marubeni Corporation to become co-owner of Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm". (Press release).
  30. ^ "Marubeni Corporation to Divest Part of Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm Shares". 27 December 2013.
  31. ^ Holm, Erik; Wittrup, Sanne (29 October 2013). "Tre havvindparker koblede ud under stormen". (in Danish).
  32. ^ Gunfleet Sands 3 - Environmental statement (Non-tech.) (December 2010) pp.2,3
  33. ^ "(1/01311/FUL) Installation of cables in conjunction with the Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm from landfall at Martello Bay coach and car park to the Veolia Water site at the Waterglade Retail Park and the erection of a substation at the Veolia Water Site". Tendring District Council. 1 November 2011.
  34. ^ "Gunfleet Sands".
  35. ^ "Bladt ships Gunfleet feet". 30 August 2012.
  36. ^ "Gunfleet Sands 3 Offshore Wind Farm" (PDF). Ballast Nedam Offshore.
  37. ^ "Siemens giants go up at Gunfleet". 30 January 2013.
  38. ^ "Siemens 6MW Offshore Wind Turbines Produce First Power at Gunfleet Sands (UK)". 18 April 2013.
  39. ^ "Blade swap complete at Gunfleet 3". 14 August 2013.
  40. ^ "Next generation of offshore turbines tested at gunfleet sands". Department of Energy & Climate Change. 12 September 2013.
  41. ^ "Dong Opens Gunfleet Sands Demo Site". 13 September 2013.


Gunfleet 1 & 2
Gunfleet 3

External links[edit]

"Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm 7km off Clacton On Sea Essex". BBC.