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Building Belwind: Belgium’s biggest energy project

  • 165 megawatt Offshore Wind Farm
  • 55 Vestas V90 turbines
  • 55 infield cables and 1 export cable

The demand for energy is mounting rapidly and the development of renewable alternatives such as offshore wind is in full swing. Van Oord has been involved in a large number of offshore wind energy projects in the past decade. The Belwind Phase I Offshore Wind Park was Van Oord’s second EPC contract for the construction of an offshore wind farm. These 55 wind turbines will supply 160,000 households with green energy every year. But that’s not all. It reduces CO2 emissions by 270,000 tonnes per year. 

165 megawatt in record time of 15 months

Van Oord was responsible for the design, engineering, procurement, and installation of the 56 foundations, the power cables and the complete electrical infrastructure, including the OHVS and the grid connection onshore. In other words, this was a complex project with many interfaces. Furthermore, Van Oord joined forces with Vestas for the turbine installation. Having vast experience in offshore construction and installation, Van Oord managed to build this powerful 165 megawatt wind farm in a record time of 15 months. In December 2010, the Belwind Phase 1 Offshore Wind Park, Belgium’s biggest energy project, became officially operational.

It might be a cliché, but every day working for Van Oord is different. What appeals to me most in the offshore wind sector is the variety of work, working with big installation vessels and the technical aspects. Working on water adds another dimension, because the circumstances change constantly and the risks are high. All in all: very exciting!

Michiel Pieterman, Package Manager
Michiel Pieterman, Package Manager

Experience led to innovation

The monopiles and transition pieces were successfully installed by the heavy lift vessel Svanen, an impressive piece of equipment in Van Oord’s fleet. At the offshore site, the Svanen drove the monopiles into the seabed using a hydraulic piling hammer. To prevent marine mammals from being harmed, preventive measures were taken to avoid their exposure to noise. Underwater sound signals were used to keep marine mammals and fish temporarily out of the construction zone. Partly thanks to this experience, Van Oord’s Environmental Engineers came up with the FaunaGuard. A great example of Marine ingenuity.

Additional information
  • Start date
    30 June 2009
  • End date
    30 November 2010
  • Location
    Belgium - Bligh Bank, North Sea
  • Business Unit
    Offshore Wind Projects
  • Client
    Belwind NV