Voltaire installs first next generation wind turbines at Dogger Bank

Jan De Nul Group’s newest jack-up installation vessel, Voltaire, recently installed her very first offshore wind turbine at Dogger Bank. Soon after installing the first of 277 wind turbines, this first turbine has produced first power.

The installation and first power of the first GE Haliade-X turbine at Dogger Bank A was confirmed. The precision exercise to install the turbine was undertaken by engineers and technicians using Jan De Nul Group’s ultra-low emission vessel, Voltaire, which has a crane lifting capacity of 3200 t.

The turbine blades tips reach 260 m above sea level; the same height as New York’s iconic Rockefeller Centre. Each blade is 107 m long.

Project Director for Dogger Bank, Olly Cass, said: “The installation of the first turbine at Dogger Bank A is an important moment for our workforce, our suppliers and of course our project partners on the path to first power which will be a landmark moment as we start to generate electricity for the first time. Dogger Bank is a major infrastructure project which is benefitting the economy, as well as supporting the UK’s future energy security and making a major contribution to the UK’s ambitious net zero targets.”

Jan Van Impe, Manager Jan De Nul Offshore Renewables at Jan De Nul Group, added: “Our Voltaire has proven that the scale and characteristics of the Dogger Bank offshore turbines offer the perfect challenge for this next generation state-of-the art jack-up installation vessel. We are excited to have installed the very first offshore GE Haliade-X turbine on the Dogger Bank wind farm in a sustainable and efficient way, and we are looking forward to continuing this mission with industry leaders SSE Renewables, Equinor, and Vårgrønn to further construct the energy transition for the UK energy market.”

The first turbines have been installed around 130 km from the Yorkshire coast, and connected via inter-array cables to the UK’s first unmanned high voltage direct current (HVDC) offshore substation, which was set in place earlier in 2023.

Dogger Bank will be the first HVDC connected wind farm in the UK due to its distance from shore, introducing new transmission systems to the UK, and paving the way for other large offshore wind farms.

This first phase of the joint venture project between SSE Renewables, Equinor, and Vårgrønn is scheduled to be fully operational in summer 2024. When complete, all three phases – Dogger Bank A, B and C – will power the equivalent of 6 million UK households, or about 5% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Voltaire, named after the pioneering European Enlightenment philosopher, has a lifting capacity of 3200 t. The vessel is fitted with a highly advanced exhaust filtering system by means of a selective catalytic reduction system and a diesel particulate filter, making her the very first seagoing installation vessel of her kind to be a European Stage V-certified ultra-low emission vessel (ULEv).