Foundation Installation at Thornton Bank 2 Completed
All foundations of the offshore wind farm Thornton Bank 2 has been successfully installed off the coast of Belgium. The installation work started in June this year and has been accomplished on schedule.
In total, 25 jacket foundations for the wind turbines and one offshore transformer station have been installed 30 kilometres off Oostende in water depth between 12 and 25 metres.
Every steel foundation is 50 metres high and weighs around 550 tons. Using a heavy duty crane, the foundations were placed on top of pre-installed piles on the seabed and attached to them. The foundation structures were manufactured in Hoboken near Antwerp, and transported via pontoons through the Scheldt estuary to its final destination on high sea.
Prof. Martin Skiba, Head of Offshore Wind Power at RWE Innogy explains: “The expeditious construction progress of Thornton Bank 2 shows that we are advancing quite well in the construction of offshore wind farms in the meanwhile. Of course, we haven’t reached the end of the learning curve yet but we made good progress in each segment of this advancing technology sector.”
By the end of this year, it is planned to complete the inter array cabling for Thornton Bank 2. At the beginning of next year, the wind turbines themselves will be installed as well as the offshore substation. Thornton Bank’s second construction phase will have 24 6-megawatt wind turbines on around 10 square kilometres. The total weight that the individual foundations will carry is around 700 tons.
The third construction phase will be from 2012 until 2013 on a 12 square kilometre area, also with 24 wind turbines. The laying of a second 150 kilovolt underwater cable, which will transport the generated electricity ashore to the feed-in station in Sas Slijkens is also planned in spring 2012.
On completion, Thornton Bank wind farm will have installed capacity of around 325 MW, which corresponds to an annual electricity supply to around 600,000 people. The first construction phase of Thornton Bank has been underway since 2009. The 5-megawatt rotating plants at Thornton Bank 1 have since delivered around 97 percent availability.
The Thornton Bank wind farm is currently the largest project financed offshore wind farm in Europe. A total of eight European commercial banks – strengthened with the participation of the European Investment Bank and the German and Danish export credit agencies – are providing around 900 million Euros of funding and risk sharing for the construction of the wind farm. RWE Innogy is the largest private shareholder in this offshore wind power project, owning 26.7 percent.
Dutch RWE subsidiary Essent will be responsible for selling the electricity generated by the second construction phase of Thornton Bank wind farm. Starting in January 2013, around 140,000 households will have their climate-friendly electricity supplied by the country’s largest offshore wind farm.
Source: rwe, October 10, 2011