BGS news

BGS and Cathie awarded ground model contract for offshore wind farms

30/10/2020 By BGS Press
Wind turbines at sea
Wind turbines at sea. © iStock | jimiknightley

The British Geological Survey (BGS), in joint partnership with global offshore geoscience and geotechnical engineering consultancy Cathie, has been awarded a contract to develop a ground model for the front-end engineering design (FEED) of two offshore wind farms.

BGS and Cathie will develop a dynamic, regional ground model which will be used to mitigate seabed risk and drive the engineering and development options for the projects. The modelling will provide an invaluable insight into the geological hazards and conditions of the past that could have a bearing on the development.

The wind farm developers are Marr Bank Wind Limited and Berwick Bank Wind Limited, subsidiaries of SSE Renewables. The proposed site of the Marr and Berwick Bank Wind Farms is located off the East coast of Scotland, where the Firth of Forth opens into the Central North Sea, which has been subjected to multiple glacial and interglacial cycles during the last 2.59 million years.  

Cathie’s Newcastle based team will lead the project and work together with BGS geoscientists based at the Lyell Centre in Edinburgh, to provide a complete solution for the regional ground model, integrating geology, geophysics and geotechnics.

BGS has a track record of reconstruction of past environments as well as an extensive knowledge of the geological history of the area. Cathie will bring their insight in the development, engineering and construction of offshore wind farms, in addition to a decade of geoscience and geotechnical engineering experience on Seagreen Alpha and Bravo, immediately north of the modelling area.

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BGS is delighted to have been awarded this important contract jointly with Cathie. Our combined expertise in this area will ensure that that the windfarm project is a success structurally while also supporting the continued development of renewable energy in Scotland.

Dr Tracy Shimmield, BGS and Director of the Lyell Centre

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This collaboration between Cathie and BGS offers a unique combination of best-in-class understanding of the geological formation and shaping of the Firth of Forth Zone with specific understanding of the influence the geological context has on geotechnical engineering for offshore wind farm infrastructure, thanks to our 75GW experience of offshore wind projects worldwide and experience in the Seagreen zone.

Gareth Ellery, Cathie Business Development Director

The detailed regional ground model developed by the joint team will be used to inform subsequent geotechnical survey campaign strategies and provide the basis upon which geotechnical designs for the two sites can be developed going forward.

Once complete, the installed capacity of Berwick Bank is proposed to be 2.3GW and Marr Bank’s proposed capacity is between 900 MW and 1.85GW.

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