Some would shy away from the challenge of transporting three 145m wind turbines featuring 58.7m blades, we say bring it on!
With approval granted for the phase three of Muirhall Wind Farm in South Lanarkshire Collett were called upon to facilitate the import and delivery of eighteen components from the Port of Grangemouth, components which when constructed would form three GE 2.75-120 145m wind turbines.
Having delivered two Senvion turbines for phase two of the Muirhall extension in February 2014, the previous holders of the largest onshore turbine blade record, we were well practiced at traversing the route from Port to pad side with the turbine component cargoes. However, due to the massive 58.7m length of the phase three blades, and the massive 63.35m overall loaded length, our teams had to undertake meticulous planning ahead of the project. To ensure suitability of the route Collett Consulting pored over data providing Swept Path Analysis Reports and Route Access Surveys before undertaking a Test Drive of the route with a vehicle adapted to accurately reflect the loaded vehicle dimensions. The provision of all this data identified several requirements along the route to enable the convoy’s safe passage, this included street furniture removal, relocation of signage and lamp posts, pruning of foliage, third party land requirements and certain sections where the placing of track way would be necessary. The tower sections would move freely along the route but these special measures were essential for safe delivery of the blades. After liaising with several authorities, highways departments and constabularies the route was agreed and adapted to accommodate the convoy, now all we needed were the turbines themselves.
Cue the arrival of the ships. Handled by Collett’s Marine Division, two vessels were expected at the Port of Grangemouth, the first arriving from Poland carrying the nine turbine blades, the second from Turkey carrying the nine tower sections. As the vessel’s arrived our teams were on hand Portside ready to begin the discharging of the ships. One by one each of the components were safely lifted from the vessel to an agreed laydown plan portside at our Grangemouth Heavy Lift Storage Facility. Utilising our 110Te straddle carrier and various cranage equipment, each component was strategically positioned to allow for ease of loading in line with the delivery schedule. Here the loads would remain until the stage of construction at Muirhall could facilitate delivery allowing Collett to provide a Just in Time service.
The hubs and nacelles for each turbine were located in Germany. This provided yet another logistical challenge requiring expert co-ordination from our teams to ensure an orchestrated arrival of the components necessary for each complete turbine. Our teams once again rose to the challenge, with expert logistical planning and execution Collett ensured that deliveries of these integral components fell in line with the agreed schedule.
As the end of November approached the first delivery to site set off. In order to minimise disruption, and due to the size of the cargoes and the route they would be travelling, each convoy consisted of one tower section and one turbine blade. Accompanied by Collett’s Pilot Vehicles and under Police Escort the convoy made its way along the route, manoeuvring the components through the villages of South Lanarkshire with our expert drivers effortlessly taking the challenging route in their stride. After crossing splitter islands, employing contraflow manoeuvres and utilising manual steering at key points throughout the route all components arrived safely on site ready for construction.
Working on a 6 day a week delivery schedule, and adopting the blade and tower delivery combination, each component safely made the journey from Grangemouth to site, arriving in synchronisation with the construction schedule.
Working closely with the experienced Muirhall Wind Energy Team on both this and the previous phase two extension allowed our team to provide expert logistics throughout. From coordinating the arrival of components from three separate locations across Europe to the extensive planning and execution of manoeuvring a 63.35m loaded combination, our team rose to the challenge and we’re proud to say that we’ve delivered the largest onshore turbine blade in the UK.
Muirhall Wind Farm phase 3 extension, also known as Muirhall South is expected to be operational in March 2016 and will offset circa 10,848 tonnes of CO2 per annum whilst supplying up to 5,773 homes with electricity over the 25 year lifetime.