GE and Sembcorp seal Sofia transmission deal

13 April 2021

The consortium of GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine has been awarded the full contract to supply the HVDC transmission system converter substations for RWE’s 1.4 GW Sofia offshore wind farm, located in the North Sea Dogger bank 195 km off the NE coast of England.

The HVDC transmission system represents Sofia’s second largest contract and will include the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the offshore converter platform and the onshore converter station, including all ancillary equipment. 

Construction of the wind farm is set to begin onshore at the Teesside converter station site this year, with offshore construction expected to get underway in 2023. Teesside will also be the future home of GE Renewable Energy’s new blade manufacturing plant.

GE’s Grid Solutions will be leading the consortium for the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of the system’s two HVDC converter stations capable of transmitting 1320 MW of power at 320 kV. The offshore converter station will be the most powerful ever built and will be installed 220 km from shore, which will also make it the most remote, said GE renewable Energy.

Sven Utermöhlen, COO Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables, commented: ”The 1.4GW Sofia project is our first to use the HVDC technology, which was selected to maximise the wind farm’s export capacity from a location so far from shore.”

The project will be based on GE Grid’s latest HVDC technology, which employs its second-generation voltage source convertor valve, and will also feature the first application of its eLumina HVDC control system. eLumina is said to be the industry’s first HVDC solution to use a digital measurement system fully based on International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61850, an international standard defining communication protocols for intelligent electronic devices at electrical substations.

Construction of the offshore converter platform will start this year and will be designed, built, installed and commissioned by Sembcorp Marine. Located at the heart of the wind farm, it will consist of a 17 000 ton topside and a jacket foundation structure piled into the seabed. 

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