All 140 turbine foundation piles are now in place for Britain’s Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm development partner Scottish and Southern Energy has said but the project has become embroiled in a dispute over construction.

Already 108 turbines out of 140 have been installed and SSE says it expects to resume turbine installation work in September.

But SSE has also signalled a dispute with its principal contractor Fluor Limited over the need for quality assurance for up to 52 of the turbine foundations.

SSE is developing the site through Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Limited (GGOWL) which is now disputing some of the construction work with Fluor: Fluor is counter-claiming for £300 million of time and costs incurred associated with additional testing and repairs of some of the welds, “…against which GGOWL has been advised that it has a robust defence,” SSE has indicated in an interim statement today. 

SSE says GGOWL is testing structural integrity of a number of the transition pieces to ensure they meet the required standard, and will begin testing on some of the monopile foundation pieces shortly.

“GGOWL retains the option of submitting its own substantial claim should the need arise,” SSE states, adding: “Despite this, the wind farm remains scheduled to be completed as planned in 2012, although there remains some potential risk to this timetable as a result of Fluor Limited/GGOWL disputes.”

SSE has a 50% stake in the £1.5 billion project in the Thames Estuary region off the UK south-east coast at Suffolk, partnering with RWE npower renewables. Power was first produced from one of the turbines back in January this year.