Van Oord has announced the completion of the installation of all the turbines at the 370MW Norther offshore wind farm, off the coast of Belgian North Sea.


Image: First turbine installed at Belgian offshore wind farm in February 2019. Photo: Courtesy of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind.

As the main contractor for the project, Van Oord stated that the entire scope of the contract ranging from cable installation and burial, installation of the Offshore High Voltage Station (OHVS) to turbine installation, was completed before schedule and in less than 9 months of time. The final turbine was installed last week.

For this wind farm, Van Oord claims to have deployed a wide range of equipment including offshore installation vessel Aeolus, the newest trencher Dig-It and cable-laying vessel Nexus.

The Norther offshore wind farm is located 23km from the coast and is powered by 44 of MHI Vestas’ V164-8.4 MW. When fully commissioned, the wind farm will generate about 1,394GWh of clean electricity annually, to power 400,000 Belgian households. The wind farm is expected to contribute significantly in supporting the country in generating 13% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

MHI Vestas chief operations officer Flemming Ougaard said: “The MHI Vestas installation team, together with our partners, has completed installation at Norther in record time. Not only did we finish ahead of schedule despite inclement weather, but most importantly, the project was installed safely. A truly exceptional job by everyone involved.”

Located 23km from the Belgian port of Zeebruges, the Norther offshore wind farm will be spread over 44km² in water depth between 16m and 33m.

Shareholders of the wind farm include Elicio, a Belgian renewable energy producer with 50%, Eneco, a Dutch producer and supplier of renewable electricity, natural gas and heat, with 25% and Diamond Generating Europe owning the remaining 25% stake.

The offshore project achieved financial close in 2016, with a consortium of ten financial institutions agreeing to provide €900m in non-recourse debt.

The financing included a €438m ($473m) loan by the European Investment Bank (EIB), half of which is guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EIB loan was estimated to cover 40% of the total cost of the project.