Construction works for the seventh offshore wind farm off the Belgian coast have started. Developer Parkwind and marine contractor Jan De Nul Group announce that offshore seabed preparation works have commenced for the 219 MW offshore wind farm Northwester 2.
The Northwester 2 wind farm will count 23 V164-9.5MW MHI Vestas Offshore Wind turbines and will be the first project to ever install this model . The turbines on monopile foundations will link through an offshore high voltage station to Elia’s Offshore Switch Yard (OSY) to export its electricity. As of 2020, the Northwester 2 wind farm will power approximately 220,000 households in Belgium.
Unique box platform
The Northwester 2 project will introduce a new design for the external access platforms on the foundations: the box platform. The platform (pictured above) has an innovative design developed and patented by Parkwind that consists only of steel plate material.
Peter Caluwaerts, Project Director Northwester 2 at Parkwind states: “At Parkwind, we continuously look for optimisations and cost-effective solutions while developing offshore wind farms. The box platform is a show case of this attitude. Indeed, this innovative design reduces the overall cost of the foundation fabrication by introducing ship building techniques in the fabrication process. Moreover, the box platform simplifies and reduces offshore maintenance activities over the lifetime of the windfarm. It is great to see the initial ideas now coming to life at the start of the offshore construction works.”
Jan De Nul Group has just finished the offshore scour protection works on the different wind turbine locations. At each location, Jan De Nul Group’s subsea rock installation vessel Simon Stevin has installed a 32 m diameter wide and 700 mm thick rock layer to stabilise the seabed around the foundation. Jan De Nul Group is now gearing up to install the first foundation in the coming days. The monopile foundations for the wind turbines will be hammered directly through the rock layer into the seabed.
Stan Logghe, Senior Project Manager Northwester 2 at Jan De Nul Group, confirms: “A full year of preparation is now coming to an end with the start of the construction phase. With the installation vessel Vole au vent returned to Ostend, Jan De Nul is now ready to commence the installation of the foundations for the Northwester 2 wind farm.”
Most advanced monopile gripper
Jan De Nul Group equipped its Vole au vent with the most advanced monopile gripper to date, delivered by Huisman. The monopile gripper has a modular, tailor-made design and is unique in its capacity and versatility. The gripper allows use on a wide range of projects already under construction, but also in the future for which the specifications are yet to be determined. Jan De Nul Group will deploy this most advanced gripper for the first time on the Northwester 2 project.