THE first of Rampion’s 80-metre high wind turbines has been installed.

Workers erected the tower on Thursday night, eight miles off the Worthing coast.

The turbines are being installed by a jack-up vessel, named the MPI Discovery, which will transport the components for eight turbines in each trip from Esbjerg in Denmark to the Rampion site.

Depending on the weather, each turbine will take around 24 hours to install.

Each tower, which weighs approximately 200 tonnes, is first lifted into position before it is bolted on to each turbine foundation – which were installed last year.

The top part of the turbine, called the nacelle, is then put in place. The nacelle houses all the important technology for the turbine including the generator and gearbox.

Finally the three blades, each measuring 55m in length, are hoisted and connected one at a time.

A second vessel, the MPI Adventure, will join in June as the installation gathers pace.

Chris Tomlinson, development manager for Rampion, said: “After seven years of planning, development and initial construction, we are especially proud to have reached this major milestone, which will see the Rampion project really begin to take shape.

“The first turbine is a powerful symbol of the engineering achievement that Rampion and other offshore wind farms represent.”

The 116 turbines will be installed over the next few months with the first generation of electricity due before the end of 2017.

During the spring work will also continue on land to ensure the electricity generated by the wind turbines can reach the National Grid.

Workers will continue to lay the cable, which comes ashore at Worthing’s Brooklands Pleasure Park before snaking to the Bolney substation

An excavator will also be working at Lancing Beach to backfill the cable duct trenches that were dug along the seabed last year for the cable installation.

The vehicle will work in calm conditions around the changing tide at a water depth of up to three metres.

The work is expected to take eight weeks. The offshore substation is also due to be lifted into position on its foundation later in the spring.

When completed the 400MW project will provide electricity to supply almost 347,000 homes a year, half the homes in Sussex. It will be fully operational in 2018.