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Tenth anniversary for wind farm.

wind farm o the coast of wind farm o the coast of NORTH Wales is NORTH Wales is celebrating its 10th anniversary this July.

AAAe North Hoyle wind farm, developed by RWE Innogy UK, was declared operational in July 2004 and is the rst large scale oshore wind farm in the UK to reach such a milestone.

And it's a double celebration for the company as it also marks the installation of all 160 turbines at Gwynt y Mor oshore wind farm, in construction just along the North Wales coast.

North Hoyle is a 30-turbine wind farm with a 60 megawatts (MW) capacity, built in 2003 . e rst of its kind, North Hoyle has been responsible for a string of rsts which have provided a baseline for the rest of the industry to build on.

It was built out of the Port of Mostyn, where a dedicated oshore supply chain has sprouted.

e physical infrastructure required and the experience and expertise developed at North Hoyle has helped the port go on to become a linchpin in the construction of RWE's Rhyl Flats and Gwynt y Mor wind farms.

North Hoyle also pioneered the rst ever Community Investment Fund from an oshore wind farm in the UK, and which is likely to invest more than PS1.5m into the communities of Rhyl, Prestatyn and Meliden over the lifetime of the wind farm. It has supported a range of community projects since, from community centres; schools; health organisations, to local carnival associations.

And it was the rst oshore wind farm in the UK to consistently monitor its environmental impacts throughout both construction and operation phases, providing a baseline from which other oshore wind farms can be built on.

Ten years ago Innogy stawho originally helped develop North Hoyle only had onshore wind and the oil and gas sectors to draw on for experience. Now, the experience gained from North Hoyle has helped Innogy's oshore team become one of the most knowledgeable in the sector.

Jess Graham was part of the team originally tasked with understanding the energy yield likely to come from the wind farm. She said the work carried out at the time proved to be well informed, yet equally had to rely on a lot of educated assumptions around wind behaviour and anticipated maintenance.

curve to access e tidal meant She said: "You've got to remember the team was making calculations about oshore wind performance in the UK for the rst time ever, and so we had to look at the way things tended to work onshore. ere were denitely areas where the knowledge simply did not exist.

"e [meteorological] mast was particularly important, as the data it provided was crucial - just putting that up was a remarkable rst for all involved. We now have a lot more operational knowledge thanks to North Hoyle, which has allowed us to be as ground-breaking in our work at the likes of Gwynt y Mor."

Electricity generation has regularly been in step with projections, with North Hoyle generating enough to power 40,000 homes in all but one operational year.

Former operational manager Adrian Emanuel, based at the Port of Mostyn, was involved in the construction of North Hoyle and is now operations delivery manager at Gwynt y Mor.

He said: "It was a pioneering time for everyone. Vessels were adapted from the local shing community - they certainly were not built for the industry as vessels are today.

"It was a very steep learning curve with skippers being asked to access turbines for the rst time. e tidal conditions at North Hoyle meant this was new to everyone.

"Some skippers had come from one of Europe's rst oshore wind farms in Denmark, which was built just 12 months ahead of North Hoyle, but tidal conditions were very dierent there.

"e turbines used were really onshore turbines scaled up for oshore use, and planning of time and resource quickly became a much more signicant issue - no longer could technicians turn up at the weekend with a van to x a broken turbine."

e last 10 years of operation has provided the sector with invaluable insight into the challenges and solutions of maintaining a major energy asset in the harsh marine environment.

Mike Bradley has been involved in the operation and maintenance of North Hoyle since day one. He said: "I remember when I initially started out as a contractor on North Hoyle, I asked for guidance. I was handed a blank sheet of paper and told that no-one had done anything like this in the UK before.

"We still had to get the job done, so we progressed albeit very cautiously, and have since established safe ways of working oshore that have stood not only in favour of North Hoyle but in support of the whole industry.

"ere are certain things you can only learn by working in that environment, before you can begin to understand the intricacies of working oshore - and that's what we had to do at North Hoyle.

"As a result we have seen vessels changed to work better in the oshore environment, we've seen techniques and tools adapted for the better."

"It was a very steep learning curve with skippers being asked to access turbines for the rst time. e tidal conditions at North Hoyle meant this was new to everyone


The completed North Hoyle wind farm off the North Wales coast
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 23, 2014
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