Northwester 2 offshore wind farm is a 219MW project being developed in the Belgian North Sea, approximately 50km off the shore of Ostend, Belgium. It is expected to be the first offshore wind farm to use Vestas V164-9.5MW turbines, the world’s biggest turbine to enter commercial operation till date.

The wind farm is being developed by Northwester 2, a joint venture between Parkwind (70%) and Sumitomo Corporation (30%), with an estimated investment of €700m ($804m).

Parkwind, being the majority share holder, will lead the construction and operation of the wind farm.

Northwester 2 secured financial closure for the project in October 2018 and plans to begin construction on the wind farm by the end of 2018.

The new Belgian offshore wind farm is expected to generate 818,600GWh of clean electricity a year over its estimated project life of 25 years starting from 2020.

The electricity generated by the wind farm will be enough to power 220,000 Belgian households.

Northwester 2 offshore wind farm make-up

To be located at a water depth of approximately 40m, the Northwester 2 wind farm will be equipped with 23 V164-9.5MW wind turbines from MHI Vestas, mounted on monopile foundations of 8m diameter and 82m length.

The transition pieces for the turbines will be of 6.8m diameter and 20m length. Each turbine of the wind farm will be approximately 190m-tall.

The turbines will be interconnected with 25km of 33kV inter-array cables, which will gather and supply electricity to the Northwester 2 offshore substation. The offshore substation will be built on jacket foundations and weigh approximately 1,000t.

Electricity transmission from Northwester 2

Electricity from the Northwester 2 offshore substation will be transmitted through a 17km-long 225kV export cable to the Modular Offshore Grid (MOG) of Belgium’s transmission system operator ELIA. The MOG is scheduled to commence operation in the beginning of 2020.

Northwester 2 turbine details

Built on the V164 turbine platform, the MHI Vestas V164-9.5MW turbine has a rated capacity of 9.5MW, making it the world’s most powerful commercially available wind turbine till date.

Each three-bladed direct drive turbine has a swept area of 21,124m², with 20m-long, 8m-wide and 8m-high nacelle, 164m-diameter rotor, and 80m-long blades.

The approximate hub height and tip height of the turbine are 105m and 187m respectively.

Financing for offshore wind farm

Northwester 2 secured €700m ($804m) of financing for the wind farm project in October 2018.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed to provide €210m ($241m) and the Danish export credit agency EKF has guaranteed €100m ($115m) for the project.

The remaining project cost will be met though commercial loans from a group of banks including BNP Paribas Fortis, Rabobank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, ASN Bank, Belfius Bank, Triodos Bank, ING Bank, Société Général, and KBC Bank.

Contractors involved with the Northwester 2 offshore wind farm

MHI Vestas received the turbine supply order for the Northwester 2 offshore wind farm in April 2018.

Jan De Nul was awarded the contract to design, construct and install the turbine foundations for the Northwester 2 offshore wind farm in July 2018.

Jan De Nul subcontracted Bladt for the fabrication of monopiles and transition pieces for the wind farm in the same month.

Bladt secured the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract for the Northwester 2 offshore substation in May 2018.

Semco Maritime will be responsible for the electrical systems, while ISC Engineering will provide the structural design for the offshore substation.

NSW, a subsidiary of General Cable (now Prysmian Group), was awarded the contract to provide the inter-array cables for the Northwester 2 offshore wind farm in August 2018.