Monster load-out commences in Belgian waters

Load out of wind turbine foundations and transition pieces Load out of wind turbine foundations and transition pieces
Industry Database

Offshore construction activities have started on the largest offshore wind farm ever built in the Belgian North Sea.

SeaMade and DEME have announced that the DP2 offshore installation vessel Innovation has started with the first load out of the first 3 of the 58 wind turbine foundations and transition pieces for offshore installation, as support structure of the 8.4MW turbines. These foundations are the first to be hammered into the seabed for the SeaMade offshore wind farm. In addition, two foundations and transition pieces supporting the two substations will be installed in the coming months.

The Innovation is sailing out of the Maasvlakte 2 harbour area in the port of Rotterdam to the SeaMade concession areas for installation in the North Sea. The SeaMade project is the eighth and largest offshore wind turbine park in Belgium.

The substation topsides and inter-array cables will be installed in spring of 2020 and the towers and nacelles will be mounted onto the foundations in the summer of 2020.

SeaMade combines 2 offshore wind farms Seastar (252MW) and Mermaid (235MW) in the Belgian North Sea, 40-50 km from Ostend, encompassing 58 8.4MW turbines. With a total aggregate capacity of 487MW, it is the largest wind farm ever built in Belgium and the Belgian North Sea.

From 2020, SeaMade will supply renewable energy for 500,000 households, providing a reduction of more than 600,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

Luc Vandenbulcke – CEO Deme NV said: "After months of careful planning and engineering, it is great to kick-off the offshore works at the largest offshore wind farm in Belgium. For now, this is the last wind farm developed in the Belgian North Sea. Thanks to our country being at the forefront of offshore renewable energy, we had the opportunity to develop a leading cluster of Belgian companies involved in the construction of offshore wind farms globally. We look forward to working with our partners and all stakeholders on the SeaMade project, and are confident also in the future our combined expertise can play a major role in Belgium’s ambition to double the offshore wind capacity to 4GW by 2025.”

The monopile foundations range up to 80m with an average weight of nearly 1000t and an outer diameter of 8.0m. Connection to the transition pieces takes place via a pre-tensioned bolted flange connection. The steel foundations are protected against corrosion via a combination of ICCP (impressed current cathodic protection), coatings and corrosion allowance, subject to the different zones.

Single layer scour protection has been installed at each individual monopile location.

The 33kV inter-array cable is designed and supplied by JDR and will connect each WTG to the relevant offshore substation in looped strings.

In the concession zone of Mermaid and Seastar, 28 respectively 30 Siemens Gamesa wind turbines type SG-8.0-167 will be installed, with a Power Boost up to 8.4MW. The turbines are supported by a tower structure with a total length of approximately 90m and a bottom diameter of 6.0m, equally connected via a bolted flange connection to the transition piece.

Both wind farms will be connected through two 220-245 kV XLPE 800mm² Aluminium submarine high voltage cables to the Belgian Modular Offshore Grid. The so-called export cables have a combined length of around 28km, and a cable diameter of around 247mm weighing approximately 96.4 kg per running metre and are designed and manufactured by Hellenic Cables. The installation activities will be done by DEME’s cable laying vessel Living Stone.

Each of the Project’s two wind farms, Mermaid and Seastar, will have its own offshore substation, which will collect electricity produced, convert it from 33kV to 220kV and export it into the Offshore Grid operated by Elia System Operator NV, the Transmission System Operator. Capitalizing on a successful collaboration on numerous previous offshore wind farms, ENGIE Fabricom, Tractebel, Smulders and Geosea will be responsible for the full EPCI of the substations, including engineering, procurement, construction, transport, installation and commissioning.

SeaMade NV, is a cooperation between: Otary RS NV – (70%), Engie NV – (17.5%) and Eneco Wind Belgium SA – (12.5%).

The total investment is said to be € 1,3 billion.

By Jake Frith

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