Wind turbines of largest wind farm in Belgium completed in record time

Thursday 2 May 2019 – The 44 Norther wind turbines, the largest Belgian offshore wind farm, have all been installed. This happened in just three months, which is a record time. This is due to the good weather conditions, the expertise and smooth cooperation of all parties involved. This crucial step means that Norther will be fully operational before the end of the Summer holidays. Since the end of February, a number of wind turbines have been supplying green electricity. When the wind farm is fully operational, 400,000 Belgian families will be able to enjoy green power every year.

In a nutshell:

  • Today, installation of Norther’s 44 wind turbines begins
  • Norther is the largest individual Belgian offshore wind farm now under construction
  • Norther will provide electricity to nearly 400,000 families annually

In a nutshell

  • 44 wind turbines installed in record time
  • MHI Vestas wind turbines are higher than the Atomium in Brussels
  • Norther will be fully operational before the end of the Summer holidays

At the beginning of February, Norther began the most crucial phase in the construction of Belgium’s largest offshore wind farm: the installation of 44 turbines. Barely three months later, they all have been installed, which is a record time in terms of construction time. The installation of this type of wind turbine would normally take twice as long.

“We are extremely proud that Norther can now work towards being completely operational by before the end of the Summer holidays. Since the end of February, the first four turbines have been supplying green power to several thousands of families via the new Stevin high-voltage substation in Zeebrugge. All our attention now is on the commissioning of the project. The goal is to connect the wind power units to the Belgian grid four at a time and ensure complete operational readiness of all turbines.”
Dennis Sanou, project director of Norther

For the construction, Norther called in two suppliers, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind and Van Oord. Van Oord oversaw the design, engineering, delivery, and commissioning of the foundations of the wind turbines and the electrical infrastructure (transformer station and cabling) and was also responsible for the transport of the wind turbines. For this, Van Oord used its jack-up ship Aeolus.

In less than 9 months, Van Oord – as Balance of Plant contractor -, completed the entire offshore operation. In a record time of only 3 months, offshore installation vessel Aeolus has installed all 44 turbine foundations at the designated locations.

“The safe and expeditious completion of the turbine installation could not have taken place without the good cooperation with MHI Vestas and all our other partners. Van Oord will now finalize the last remaining works such that the park is fully operational.”
Henk Jan van Dijk, Project Manager Van Oord

Higher than the Atomium

Danish company MHI Vestas supplied the 44 turbines, which each have a maximum production capacity of 8.4 MW. The individual components of the mega turbines are impressive: with around 180 metres from sea level to the tip of the blade, the wind turbine stands higher than the Atomium in Brussels. The nacelle has a weight of approximately 350 tonnes and the dimensions of a detached house. Inside the nacelle are the machine components like gearbox and generator.

It is exceptional that we were able to complete Norther ahead of schedule. This is a record time. We are delighted that we completed this project in a safe and successful way together with all the partners. A truly exceptional job by everyone involved.”
Flemming Ougaard, MHI Vestas Chief Operations Officer

The Norther wind farm is located 23 kilometers off the coast of Ostend and has a total capacity of 370 megawatts, currently the largest capacity of all Belgian wind farms. The wind energy generated will flow into the power grid and will be sold to Engie (50%) and Eneco (50%). Once fully operational, Norther’s electricity supply will cover almost 400,000 families’ energy usage. Norther is the sixth wind farm in the North Sea. Together, the six wind farms will provide electricity to more than one million households.

About Norther :

Norther NV is the company (50% Elicio, 50% Boreas—a joint venture between Eneco and Diamond Generating Europe) in charge of developing, installing, and exploiting the Norther Offshore wind farm. This farm—with its maximum installed capacity of 370 MW—is Belgium’s largest offshore wind project. The project will be built 23 km off the Belgian coast. Its 44 state-of-the-art wind turbines will generate as much power as is used per year by some 400,000 families. Norther is going to be operational before the end of the Summer holidays 2019.