The wind that filled sails for explorers can be harnessed to aid the energy revolution. Offshore wind farms are a growing opportunity for energy companies worldwide. But there is more than wind to think about when placing the tall structures in the sea. The sea itself can cause trouble with waves and freezing condition in some climes. Below the surface lies even more concerns as the seabed can range from rock to sand and silt accumulated for eons.
Rock would seem to be a positive seabed for wind turbine installation as it can support the structure better than other environments. But rock can also offer challenges, as companies are finding out. One successful project for turbines-in-rock has been the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm in France.
The 480-MW (megawatt) wind farm will feature 80 GE Haliade 160-6MW turbines to be manufactured in France. According to GE, each Haliade turbine powers 5,000 homes; the project is expected to generate the equivalent of 20% of the Loire-Atlantique’s electricity consumption. Turbines will be located between 12 and 20 kilometers off the Loire-Atlantique coast, at depths ranging from 12 to 25 meters, and deployed an area of about 78 square km.
DEME Offshore has reached the halfway point in installation of the monopile foundations there. The company is the first to install a wind farm in harsh Atlantic conditions with proprietary technology. In this case, the XL-monopile foundations have to be installed on a difficult rocky seabed. For the installation of the Saint-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm, DEME Offshore for the first time is deploying its 350-ton Offshore Foundation Drill (OFD) and tailor-made MODIGA, an innovation and industry-first technology which allows encapsulating the drilling and installation operations and shields them from the adverse Atlantic marine conditions.
DEME Offshore and Herrenknecht, well-known for tunnel boring machines, fabricated a tailormade subsea drill specifically for the project, the OFD. The design and development of the MODIGA happened together with TMS, an offshore equipment manufacturer. Having started construction in spring 2021, 40 out of a total of 80 XL foundations are now installed.
The successful deployment of DEME’s technology is setting a new industry standard for efficient Offshore Wind installation projects in challenging marine conditions and solid rock. The complete technological solution is being deployed from DEME Offshore’s installation vessel Innovation.
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