Offshore construction has begun on the Barrow Offshore Wind farm – a joint venture between Centrica and Danish energy company DONG.
A specialist vessel - the Resolution - took up position 7km off the Cumbrian coast at the weekend and began installing the first of 31 monopiles that will support the turbines.
This phase of the project is likely to last for 10-12 weeks with the turbines expected to be installed during late summer.
Eventually, the 90MW wind farm will provide green electricity for around 65,000 British Gas customers.
Meanwhile, work continues onshore. The wind farm’s substation is being fitted out at Barrow docks and preparations are taking place down the coast in Lancashire to enable the power generated by the wind farm to be fed into the national grid.
The North West (East Irish Sea) is one of only three areas designated by the UK Government for offshore wind developments. The others are the Greater Wash and the Thames Estuary.
John Freeland, Centrica’s project manager for Barrow said: “It is satisfying to commence offshore construction on the UK’s fourth offshore wind farm with the successful installation of the first pile.
“Noise levels were monitored at the nearest residences to the wind farm during the installation and were found to be no higher than the usual background levels.
“Barrow residents were advised in the local press of the start of works and the potential for noise during the driving of the piles.”
· Meanwhile, a new poll in Northern Ireland has found that almost nine out of 10 people back wind farms. The poll comes from the British Wind Energy Association, which has just launched its Embrace the Revolution campaign in Northern Ireland, following on from the launches in England and Scotland.