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Project under way

Beachcombing WaveWalker seeks firm footing for wind farm

Walk this way: Colin Mulvey, project manager, and Matthias Haag viewing the WaveWalker

Visitors to Thorntonloch Beach in East Lothian may have noticed an unusual beach comber walking the shoreline.

The WaveWalker 1, one of only a few walking jack-up barges in the world, has been carrying out a geotechnical survey on behalf of the Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm,

It is drilling boreholes close to the shore and in the intertidal area, including the beach. The results of the survey will provide important information about the ground conditions on and around the beach as the NnG project team explore the best options for installing the wind farm’s offshore export cables.

The NnG project, owned by EDF Renewables and ESB, reached financial close in November and construction of the wind farm is now under way.

NnG has a capacity of c. 450 megawatts of low carbon energy and will offset over 400,000 tonnes of Co2 emissions each year. Construction of components is now underway, offshore construction will start in June 2020 and full commissioning will complete in 2023.

Matthias Haag, NnG project director, said: “It’s a really exciting time for NnG and having the WaveWalker 1 at Thorntonloch Beach carrying out this geotechnical survey is clear evidence of the project now entering the construction phase.

“This survey will provide us with important information on the ground conditions that we need before laying the export cables that will link NnG to the National Grid via a new substation which will be built near Innerwick onshore.”

The WaveWalker 1 is specifically designed to offer a safe and secure solution for marine operations in areas typically affected by weather and tides, and on beaches.

Since its launch in 2012, the WaveWalker 1 has carried out a variety of operations for marine projects across the globe including geotechnical site investigations for offshore wind farms, offshore cable installation, offshore windfarm operations and maintenance, drilling and blasting and other underwater work.

To ensure public safety during these surveys, access to Thorntonloch Beach is restricted and the public should remain at least 100 metres from the WaveWalker at all times.

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