Construction under way at Norther

BELGIUM: The first of 45 foundations has been installed at the 370MW Norther project in the Belgian North Sea.

Van Oord upgraded is Aeolus installation vessel before starting construction at Norther
Van Oord upgraded is Aeolus installation vessel before starting construction at Norther

Dutch offshore specialist and contractor Van Oord deployed its installation vessel Aeolus following a major transformation.

The vessel has been used in the offshore wind industry since 2014, but ahead of installing the foundations for the project’s 44 MHI Vestas turbines, offshore high-voltage substation, and entire electrical infrastructure, Van Oord carried out several upgrades.

It boosted the Aeolus’ loading capacity, increased the on-board accommodation capacity, widened the vessel, reinforced the deck and added a helicopter-landing pad.

Van Oord also enlarged the vessel’s spud poles, used to lift the vessel above the water level, and installed a new crane capable of lifting 1,600 tonnes.

The company explained these changes enabled the vessel to "keep up with the rapidly changing offshore wind market" and "handle the latest generation of foundations and wind turbines".

Van Oord will also be deploying its cable-laying vessel Nexus at Norther "in the next few months", the company stated.

The project will comprise 44 of MHI Vestas’ V164-8.0 turbines uprated to 8.4MW.

It is owned by renewable energy provider Elicio's parent company Nethys (50%), developer Eneco (25%) and Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corporation’s subsidiary Diamond Generating Corporation (25%).

The project is located 23 kilometres from the Belgian coast. It is set to be the country’s largest offshore wind farm, and is due to be fully commissioned next year.

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