PGE and Ørsted are getting ready to conduct the third stage of the geotechnical survey for the Baltica Offshore Wind Farm. This will involve a detailed check of the seabed conditions for the construction of the wind farm with a capacity of up to 2.5GW. The previous stages of the study included drillings to determine the sequence and depth of geological layers and laboratory tests at sea and on land.
Wojciech Dąbrowski, president of the management board of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, explains: “After the phase of preliminary geotechnical tests, we move, according to plan, to the stage of selecting a contractor for detailed geotechnical tests. The analysis of the collected data will allow the determination of precise soil conditions for each location and forms an important input for the design of the foundations. The implementation of works related to the research is indispensable for us to make the final investment decision to start the construction of the largest investment currently being implemented in the Baltic Sea: the Baltica Offshore Wind Farm.”
Surveying Soil Conditions for Turbine Locations
“We expect the geotechnical investigation for detailed design to be carried out during the summer and early autumn this year. During the survey, the contractor will investigate soil conditions for each turbine location, based on the preliminary layout of the Baltica project. Based on this, we will decide whether to stick to the preliminary layout or to relocate any of the turbines if the conditions at a chosen location turn out to be suboptimal. Based on the outcome of the geotechnical investigation for detailed design, we will also be ready to provide the detailed data that will be used to order the steel and other fabrication materials,” said Søren Westergaard Jensen, director of the IMF Baltica project on behalf of Ørsted and acting managing director of the offshore area at Ørsted Polska.
The survey includes static probing (CPTU), which makes it possible to determine important ground conditions, such as soil strength and compaction. Performing this survey will allow investors to precisely determine the parameters necessary for future foundation fabrication and installation for offshore wind farms.
During static probing, seismic surveys (SCPTU) will also be performed in areas indicated by the investors. These locations will depend on the results of the current geotechnical surveys.
The order also includes specialized tests during which the strength of a given soil for the foundations of an offshore wind farm will be tested. According to the schedule, the launch of the first phase of the Baltica Offshore Wind Farm project, Baltica 3 with a capacity of approx. 1,045MW, is planned for 2026. The next phase, Baltica 2 with a capacity of approx. 1,500MW, is to be completed by 2027. These investments will contribute to accelerating the Polish energy transformation. For both phases of the IMF Baltica, location decisions (PSZW), environmental decisions and connection agreements with the operator for connection to the transmission network are in place, and they have received the right to a contract for difference (CfD).
The project partners expect to receive an environmental decision for the connection infrastructure in 2022 and will start work on obtaining building permits. This is the last permit required before making the final investment decision.