15 August 2019

Blyth decommissioning

In April 2019, the North tower of Blyth Offshore Wind Farm was lifted from the seabed onto the Excalibur, the same vessel used to build it 20 years ago, as the decommissioning of a pioneering project, which marked the beginning of remarkable progress for offshore wind energy in the UK, was brought to an end.

The seaside town of Blyth in Northumberland took a giant leap into renewables in 2000 with the construction of the UK’s first two offshore wind turbines, leased by The Crown Estate. Totalling 4MW, they were at the time the most powerful offshore wind turbines in the world. This pioneering offshore wind farm paved the way for future development of the sector. Today, offshore wind turbines are four times more powerful, with a combined output that is meeting more than 8% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Not only has this project played a vital role in the transition to clean energy, it also set a very high standard for decommissioning offshore wind farms. The removal of the asset and full restoration of the natural environment was made possible by E.ON and Fugro’s outstanding work.

As manager of the seabed, we worked in partnership with E.ON to agree on the decommissioning process, ensuring the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland remains sustainable for its users and future development for the long-term.

This may have signalled the end of Blyth Offshore Wind Farm, but its legacy lives on – one of the removed turbines will be installed in Blyth harbour and used as a training facility to continue the advancement of this renewable energy resource.

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