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Heerema installs first wind turbine using novel RNA method

RNA methodThe first out of the 27 Vestas V174 – 9.5MW turbines has successfully been installed at the Arcadis Ost 1 wind farm. Using a unique floating installation method, Parkwind, together with Heerema Marine Contractors and Vestas, marks an industry premiere in wind turbine installation on commercial scale.

The plan to use a floating installation method for Arcadis Ost 1 was announced for the first time in November 2019. Today, after almost three years of development and engineering, we have successfully executed the floating installation of the first Arcadis Ost 1 turbine. This innovative method has two main advantages. The first is zero seabed interaction especially important in areas of significant water depth or challenging soil conditions. The second advantage is a shorter installation cycle.

To speed up the installation process, assembly and lifting operations are happening in parallel. One of the Thialf’s two main cranes lifts the pre-assembled WTG-tower to the foundation, whilst the second main crane is used to pre-assemble the WTG in parallel. For the latter, Heerema developed a method where the Rotor Nacelle Assembly (RNA) lift takes place on a so-called ‘support’ tower on board of the crane vessel. The support tower provides a stable platform to allow a fast and secure assembly of the nacelle and the blades. Once pre-assembled the complete RNA is lifted as one piece onto the WTG tower in only one lift. The pre-assembly process on board the Thialf ensures full control thereby guaranteeing a safe and highly reliable installation environment. The reduced number of lifts between the vessel and the structure eliminates key risks of the floating installation. Vestas has delivered RNA lift-feasible components by developing new tools to support the offshore floating installation.

Eric Antoons, co-CEO of Parkwind comments, “The industry often talks about innovation, and this is what our teams at Parkwind mean by it. Together with our partners we create solutions for challenges that seemed impossible to overcome in the past. The floating installation method is the perfect example of what it takes to set new industry standards, and new standards mean new opportunities for offshore wind globally. Arcadis Ost 1 will soon be one of the world’s most advanced wind farms, thanks to its design, components, and installation method, all brought together by exceptionally talented teams. Now, with the first turbine installed, we trust that the project teams will successfully install the remaining 26 turbines.” Michel Hendriks, Chief Operating Officer of Heerema Marine Contractors adds, “This first installation is the result of extensive engineering, innovation, and the dedication of our team, alongside Parkwind and Vestas, who together have worked hard to deliver the first floating installation of a wind turbine generator using our novel RNA method. This moment is also a major milestone within the offshore wind industry, and Heerema will continue to develop and enhance our capabilities for the floating installation of offshore wind farms.”

Flemming Ougaard, Senior Vice President of Construction in Vestas Northern & Central Europe also comments, “Three years ago, we committed to bringing our technology and experience to bear at Arcadis Ost 1. Today, we are celebrating the project’s first installation of 27 Vestas’ V174-9.5MW turbines. We are furthermore celebrating the world’s first floating installation. This new innovative installation method promises to unlock the potential of many offshore areas around the world with challenging soil conditions. We are very proud of the hard work and passion of our team, who together in a strong and trustful partnership with Parkwind and Heerema Marine Contractors, has made possible to reach this milestone for the offshore wind industry. Arcadis Ost 1 has opened the door to new possibilities, that will significantly contribute to the crucial role of offshore wind energy to drive the green transition in Germany and worldwide. We are honoured to be an active part of this transition.”

The Arcadis Ost 1 is a 257MW wind farm developed by Parkwind, located in the German territorial waters of the Baltic Sea, northeast of the island of Rügen. It is Europe’s first wind farm equipped with Vestas’ V174-9.5MW turbines and Parkwind’s first international project. The installation campaign has started in June 2022 and wind farm’s final commissioning is planned in 2023.