In Depth: Aeolus Ready to Construct Dutch Wind Farms

Recently, Aeolus finally arrived in Rotterdam to be revealed to the world. On Friday 20 June relations had the opportunityto explore the ship, while on Saturday 21 June Khaddouj Aboutaleb Erahoutan, spouse of the mayor of Rotterdam, christened the transport and installation vessel for the construction of offshore wind farms owned by dredging and offshore contractor Van Oord.

Pieter van Oord, CEO of Van Oord: “The christening and commissioning of a new ship is always a special event. Especially now that we have added a new type of vessel to our extensive fleet. This vessel also gives us the opportunity to extend our leading role in the construction of offshore wind farms. In the next few years the Netherlands can prove that they are seriously working on the implementation of sustainable energy and the Energy Agreement.”

In the week following the christening, the Aeolus went to IJmuiden for the installation of the gripper, the part of the vessel that will place the piles, which weigh 450 tons each.

Growing in the offshore wind market

As said by Van Oord, the transport and installation vessel is a step forward in Van Oord’s vision to expand in the area of offshore wind projects. The Dutch Energy Agreement aims to increase the generation of sustainable energy from the current four per cent to 16 per cent in ten years. Aeolus is not the only vessel Van Oord has built to contribute to this goal. Late 2014 the cable laying vessel Nexus, currently being built at Damen Shipyards in Romania, will be delivered.

Luchterduinen and Gemini

Both vessels will start working on Dutch offshore wind projects. The 139 metre long and 38 metre wide Aeolus will, at least until the end of 2016, operate in the Netherlands, starting with the Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm, near Scheveningen and Zandvoort. The wind farm is scheduled to be operational in 2015. In order to be able to install the wind turbines, Aeolus is fitted with a jack-up system that has four legs, is 81 metres long and has a diameter of 4.5. The capacity of the crane is 900 tonnes at a 30 metre radius. After this, Aeolus will continue, along with Nexus, with the Gemini wind farm project, where 150 wind mills will be installed in water depths up to 35 metres near Schiermonnikoog, the Netherlands.

For both projects, Van Oord is the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) Contractor, which means they are responsible for almost everything to get the wind farm to function, except for the delivery of the turbines. In the construction, Van Oord is responsible for the design, the purchase and the installation of the foundations as well as completing the electrical infrastructure, which includes the offshore transformer station and the installation of the wind turbines.

Anne Kregting

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