Belgian dredging giant Jan De Nul (JDN) today announced Vidar’s maiden offshore wind farm project, just 10 days after taking over the jack-up crane vessel.
Formally operated by German company Hochtief, Vidar is under two years old and specifically built to install the foundations and turbines for offshore wind parks. The 140 m-long, 41 m-wide vessel has a 3,100 m² open deck area and is equipped with a crane able to lift 1,200 tonnes. It has four legs to lift itself above sea level for stable working, and can operate in water depths up to 50 m.
“With Vidar in our fleet, we considerably extend our specialised services for the installation of offshore wind parks,” commented Peter De Pooter, JDN’s offshore renewables manager.
Vidar’s maiden project is the result of a contract JDN has signed with Belgian company Nobelwind for the second phase of the Belwind offshore wind farm, which will be built around the Bligh sand bank in the Belgian North Sea, 46 km off the coast of Zeebrugge. Owned by Parkwind, Sumitomo Corp, and Meewind, Nobelwind has selected Ostend as the marshalling harbour.
JDN will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of 51 monopile foundations for 50 wind turbines and the offshore high voltage substation, plus the supply and installation of scour protection and installation of 50 Vestas wind turbines, each capable of generating 3.3 MW.
“The steel foundations will be fabricated in Germany and Vietnam under strict quality control by our specialist inspectors,” De Pooter noted. “Vidar will install the 51 foundations, working from Ostend, and our fallpipe vessel Simon Stevin will place scour protection on the seabed around the piles.
“Finally, Vidar will transport the turbines and blades from Denmark and install them up to 100 m high onto the foundations. Work will start in April 2016 and end during the course of 2017.”
The wind farm will be connected to the Belgian power grid through an export cable previously installed by JDN in 2013 and will provide green power to 197,000 homes.
“The project involves some important new technologies,” De Pooter added. “For example, the 220 kV export cable will be shared with Northwind, the inter-array cables use no J-tubes but an intra-foundation connection, and the monopile foundations are bolted instead of grouted.”
JDN is increasingly involved in offshore projects and apart from Vidar has invested in three specialised offshore multipurpose vessels. The cable laying and rock installation vessel Isaac Newton was launched in March this year and two other multipurpose vessels are currently under construction.
“The investment in a jack-up installation vessel like Vidar is a logical step forward, thanks to which Jan De Nul can now offer a unique all-in solution to the offshore market,” De Pooter concluded. “And with the order for the Nobelwind project we immediately confirm our expertise in this field.”
Nobelwind project director Frank Coenen commented, “We are pleased that a strong group such as Jan De Nul has won this very competitive tender and we have confidence Jan De Nul will safeguard some essential parts of the construction phase.”