The offshore installation vessel Aeolus of maritime contractor Van Oord underwent a transformation to be able to install the first foundation in the seabed this month for Norther, the largest offshore wind farm in Belgium.
With the installation of the first of a total of 45 foundations, the offshore work of the Norther offshore wind farm has now really started. The wind farm is 23 kilometers from the Belgian coast of Zeebrugge and has a total capacity of 370 MW.
Enough to supply 400,000 households with renewable energy from 2019 onwards. With this, the project actively contributes to the climate targets of Belgium for 2020.
As the main contractor, Van Oord is responsible for the design, procurement, delivery and installation of the 45 foundations for the wind turbines, the offshore high-voltage substation, the entire electrical infrastructure and the installation of the wind turbines. In addition to the Aeolus, Van Oord’s cable-laying vessel Nexus will also be deployed in the coming months.
Van Oord’s Aeolus was commissioned in 2014 for the construction of wind farms at sea and has since proven its value and reliability. In order to be able to respond to the rapid developments in the offshore wind sector, the Aeolus had to be thoroughly adjusted.
The payload was increased and the number of accommodations expanded to 99. The ship has been widened, the deck has been reinforced and it has been fitted with a helideck. The spud poles – as it were the feet of the ship – have also been enlarged. Thanks to the new crane with a lifting capacity of 1,600 tons, the Aeolus is suitable for installing the latest generation of foundations and wind turbines. It now belongs to the largest lifting vessels in its class.
Here a video explaining how the Aeolus works.