The first turbine on the Northwester 2 offshore windfarm has started supplying electricity to the Belgian grid. The offshore windfarm is expected to be fully operational mid-2020
The 219-MW project will consist of 23 MHI Vestas 164-9.5 MW turbines, the most powerful turbines to enter commercial operation to date. Power from the turbines is being transmitted to the grid via Belgian transmission system operator Elia’s modular offshore grid (MOG).
Parkwind project director for Northwester 2 Peter Caluwaerts said, “Starting up production of energy is a key milestone for Northwester 2 and is the result of thorough preparation and collaboration between our team, contractors, shareholders, the authorities and Elia.”
Elia chief executive Chris Peeters said, “This first milestone for Northwester 2 is also a milestone for the MOG, with the first energy being transmitted through it after it went live late last year.”
The switching platform for the MOG is 40 km off the coast of Belgium and will combine electricity generated by four offshore windfarms – Rentel, Seastar, Mermaid and Northwester 2 – for onward transmission to the mainland. This is more efficient than transmitting the power via individual cables and improves security of supply. Bringing together the cables from the four windfarms saves 40 km of cable overall.
Northwester 2 is a project company holding a 219-MW concession in Belgian territorial waters. The current shareholders are Parkwind (70%) and Japanese industrial group Sumitomo Corporation (30%).
Parkwind is responsible for developing the offshore windfarm and is managing construction and operational activity.
Installation of the first turbine for the project was completed in December 2019. It was installed by Jan de Nul’s installation vessel, Vole au vent.
All of the main turbine components are being assembled and pre-commissioned at a marshalling harbour in Flushing.
MHI Vestas secured a contract for the turbines for the project in late 2018. The contract was awarded after financial close for the project on 5 October 2018. The deal includes a 15-year service agreement for the turbines.