AWRenewables has successfully taken delivery of some of its most precious cargo to date. The culmination of months of projections, planning, paperwork and preparations, this week, three 56m long wind turbine blades and two generator units, one over 5m wide have made the journey from Germany to Checkley Wood, completing another stage of the construction process for the new 4.1MW wind turbine.
Travelling by sea from Cuxhaven in Germany, the turbine components began their journey on Friday afternoon. The weekend saw successful navigation of both the North Sea and Immingham Docks. Due to arrive on Monday, the blades were sent ahead on Sunday night. Negotiating roundabouts, street signs, bridges and traffic lights, the convoy of three, enormous lorries, pilot vehicles and a fleet of police outriders made its careful journey south down the M1 from Sheffield.
On paper, the most difficult part of the whole operation was in the last few hundred yards. Because the overhang of the turbine blades behind the lorries was so long, the convoy had to reverse onto the Checkley Wood site, one vehicle at a time, while the remaining two blades were held on the A5.
The specialised, German transporters are equipped with remote controlled rear wheels, enabling the vehicle to turn its back end independently; a feature which was invaluable in negotiating the tight angles into Checkley Wood. The expert drivers made the manoeuvres appear simple and what was anticipated to be a precarious and slow entry to site was completed in under half an hour.
The blades were lifted from the transporters by two gigantic cranes, one of 300 and one of 500 tonnes. Minute precision was the order of the day; with thousands of hand-layered sheets of ultra-light, ultra-strong fibreglass making up the main body of the blades, a single crack could cause the whole structure, with all its months of meticulous design and build, to fail.
Once safely secured on site, the transporters turned their attention to the two generators. Each bridging two carriageways, what these loads lacked in length, they made up for in width. The same journey was taken south from the Humber, with specialist escort vehicles negotiating narrow roads, junctions, traffic lights and motorway slip roads.
The manoeuvre to access Checkley Wood was much simpler on Tuesday and Wednesday, but still the generators weigh 47T and 105T so it required immaculate crane handling to bring them safely onto site.
With blades and generators now fully delivered, the operation will take a momentary pause while it awaits the arrival of the next set of components in mid-October, which will mark the exciting moment that the vertical construction phase can begin.
Throughout this operation, local residents have been extremely supportive and patient, for which AWGroup is very grateful.