Offshore wind energy: First 6MW wind turbine for offshore wind farm installed

REpower Systems SE and Belgian offshore project development company C-Power NV yesterday installed the world’s most powerful offshore turbine, 28 kilometres off the port of Oostende. The turbine with a rated power of 6.15 megawatts (MW) is the first of 48 REpower 6M to be constructed in the phases 2 and 3 of the Belgian offshore wind farm Thornton Bank. In the early hours of 21 March the rotor star was connected to the nacelle by a team of C-Power and REpower engineers and the crew of Neptune, the installation vessel of GeoSea (DEME group) carrying the components for the turbine.

Now the vessel Neptune is returning to the harbour of Oostende where the components for the next turbine will be loaded. The erection teams stay at the accommodation jack-up barge Vagant, which moves from one turbine to the next, for the whole installation process.

The offshore turbine REpower 6M has the dimension of two family homes and the rotor star has a diameter of 126 metres, with a swept area greater than two football pitches.

The installation of the first 30 turbines for phase 2 of the wind farm is planned for 2012, and a further 18 are designated for installation during a third extension stage by mid-2013.

Jaak Rutten, CEO of C-Power thanked the team for this outstanding engineering achievement and said: “C-Power is pleased that it could install the first REpower 6M as planned with the entire project being on track. GeoSea and REpower are doing an excellent job in constructing this second phase of our offshore wind farm. 2012 is our most important construction season – installing foundations, turbines, offshore transformer station and a second export cable – and it started off well.”

Frank Zimmermann, Head of the Offshore Business Unit of REpower Systems SE, added: "With the first REpower 6M installed offshore, we’ve delivered the first turbine of that size to global “water-world”. We are very happy, indeed, having achieved such landmark, yet there are 47 more to go and as always, safety counts first.”

In 2008, REpower already delivered and installed six turbines of the REpower 5M type for the first construction phase of Thornton Bank. The offshore wind farm, located around 28 kilometres off the Belgian coast in waters between twelve and 27 meters deep, was officially put into operation at the end of June 2009. Since it started operation, Thornton Bank generated almost 350,000 megawatt hours of electricity.

For phases 2 and 3 of the wind farm, REpower’s scope of delivery covers the production and delivery of the nacelles, towers, blades and hubs as well as pre-installation in the port of Oostende. Furthermore, REpower is responsible for the installation, the commissioning and the test run of the turbines, and will deliver its full service product OFS for all three stages, which includes responsibility for operations and maintenance, as well as the transportation at sea.