World’s largest offshore wind farm will clear unexploded bombs

The UK’s Dogger Bank, which will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm once it’s completed in 2026, will need to remove unexploded ordnance (UXO) items before it can proceed.

The UXO items were identified during an inspection campaign last year, and they’ll be cleared in February. Dogger Bank is being built in three 1.2 GW phases – A, B, and C’s UXO inspection campaign is expected to be completed by March 12.

Tables and maps in a notice to mariners published last year indicate that there are two unexploded ordnance items at Dogger Bank A and six at Dogger Bank B.

In waters around the UK, there are over 100,000 tonnes of UXO that typically date back to World War I and World War II. In order to safely develop offshore wind farms it must be removed.

Safelane Global, which specializes in UXO removal, notes on its website:

As the devices have been buried beneath the ground or lain below the water’s surface, they will have experienced significant degradation via erosion making them increasingly less stable. 

The risk of detonation is heightened if these old, unstable devices are disturbed – perhaps from vibrations during construction works or the sub-sea engineering processes essential for the development of wind farms. When ordnance is exposed to heat, vibration, or contact, it may explode.

Dogger Bank is a relatively shallow seabed in the southern central North Sea, and its sands tend to shift due to soft sediment, thus making UXO exposure possible.

The offshore wind farm is a joint venture between Norwegian energy giant Equinor (40%), British utility SSE Renewables (40%), and Italian energy company Eni Plenitude (20%).

A, B, and C will be capable of powering up to six million UK homes once it’s completed. SEE Renewables and Equinor are looking into building a fourth phase, Dogger Bank D, which would make the project even more massive.

Read more: The world’s most powerful wind turbine has produced its first power

Photo: General Electric


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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.