Giant eco-foundations made in Belfast

Giant eco-foundations made in Belfast

Harland and Wolff in Belfast is doing their bit to help Northern Ireland reach its target for generating electricity from renewable sources.

Twenty per cent is the target hoped to be achieved by 2015 and the historic firm is helping the region get closer to its goal by building a giant set of foundations.

While the shipyard does not employ the same high numbers as it did in its heyday, new opportunities are arising from renewable energy. The foundations will help form part of the world's biggest windfarm in the North Sea.

Suction foundations are being made in Belfast - the technology is a commercial world first for the wind-off-shore energy market.

They're sucked, rather than piled into the seabed, making them more environmentally friendly.

If successful, the hope is the innovative technology will lead to a lot more large contracts, which means sustaining and creating jobs in the region.

David McVeigh, of Harland and Wolff, explained: "They [the cost] will be in the low millions each but the idea being that these particular foundations, especially going in to the deeper water, will be perhaps somewhere between ten to fifteen percent, perhaps as much as forty percent cheaper than traditional foundations.

"So ultimately the whole goal is the cost of energy to the final customer for renewable energy has to come down."

Weather permitting the suction foundations are due to be shipped out on Friday morning.


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