Vattenfall is adding 15 turbines to their Kentish Flats offshore wind farm. There are currently 30 turbines in the Thames Estuary, near the Kent coast. I am going to be following the progress of this project and producing sketches, drawings and paintings. My mother, also an artist, is joining me.

24 November 2014

I’ve been looking forward to this project starting but I found myself taken by surprise when last Wednesday Melanie (Vattenfall communications officer) called to say the onshore works were about to start within the hour, officially. I managed to whizz down to the site just before the special machine starting digging the road.

Digging up the road is the first stage of this process as the cable that takes the electricity from the turbines runs under the seabed, comes ashore and then runs under the road to a sub-station. The onshore part of the cable needs to be augmented to carry the extra power the additional turbines will create.

I don’t know what people watching from their houses thought of us getting excited and taking photos of a large mechanical digger just before it broke the surface of the road. We even crouched down, looking underneath the digger, to photograph the special cylinder with knobs that does the hard work.

I met Gareth, the man in charge of the site. Melanie had warned him I was an artist coming to sketch and do paintings as part of an art project to document the project as it progressed. I’m looking forward to illustrating all the different people who will be working on this project, whether they’re office based or out on site.

The engineering, technical aspect of this project is really fascinating. There are some amazing machines and tools that have been developed to carry out the work. I really must start to learn the proper names for these. In my next blog I’ll let you know the name of the big digger working on the road.

Digging the trench near Hampton Pier, Herne Bay.  Watercolour sketch by Joyce Leech.

Digging the trench near Hampton Pier, Herne Bay. Watercolour sketch by Joyce Leech.