Windplanblauw turbine installation reaches completion

Today, 20 March 2024, the final blade was installed for Windplanblauw in the Dutch province of Flevoland. The installation took place nearshore, in the IJsselmeer lake. With both onshore and nearshore turbines now completed the project is counting down to its official inauguration in August.

Windplanblauw is a Dutch repowering project from Vattenfall and SwifterwinT replacing 74 turbines with 61 new and more powerful ones, of which 24 are built in the IJsselmeer lake and 37 (Vestas V162-5.6 MW ) on land. The construction of the onshore wind turbines was completed at the end of 2022.

Construction in the IJsselmeer started early 2023. The 24 GE Cypress 5.5 MW turbines, placed in two rows, replace the 28 turbines that were previously located in the lake. Together, they have an installed capacity of 132 MW, producing the equivalent to electricity consumption of 130.000 Dutch households. Vattenfall owns 14 of the nearshore turbines.

Some of the turbines still require work inside the turbine. In addition, some of the turbines are still in test operation. After an extensive testing phase, the turbines will officially be handed over to the wind farm owners. The official inauguration will take place in August this year.

Customized installation

The shallow waters of IJsselmeer, water depth is 4.5 meters on average, and the size of the locks at each entrance to the lake required an adaptation to standard offshore installation techniques. A customized installation setup made up of stabilized floating pontoons with an onshore crane attached on deck was used for heavy lifting, each pontoon small enough to fit through the IJsselmeer locks and shallow enough not to run aground. Tower components needed to be offloaded in the Port of Amsterdam, then transferred onto pontoons for the last leg. Due to the sensitive nature of the combined crane and barge setup, excellent weather was required for installation activities.

Bad weather and closed locks

Installation started in 2023 and was hampered by bad weather, with an unprecedented period of strong northerly winds in the spring of 2023 followed by the stormiest July on record. This winter, bad weather pushed work back yet again, including a most unusual closing of the locks due to high water. However, project manager Matthew May believes the result has well been worth the wait.

“Building nearshore is quite challenging from a technical perspective and this project definitely cost its share of blood, sweat, and tears, but I think we managed to create a worthy replacement of the Irene Vorrink wind farm, Windplanblauw’s well-loved predecessor. Windplanblauw nearshore turned out to be quite an elegant wind farm, something about the proportions of the turbines and its foundations rising above the water, the form of the blades.”

Matthew May, project manager Vattenfall

Resting area for grebes

Biodiversity has been an integral part of the project, creating a new resting area for grebes and placing reef balls to attract fish species and mussels. Special attention was given to a colony of 1500 cormorants that moved into the area during construction.

Significant contribution

SwifterwinT is a local initiative, combining more than 150 inhabitants, business- and turbine-owners that live in the vicinity of the wind farm.

“hrough our collaboration with an international partner, we are now making an important contribution to the energy transition at a local level. Making this connection and continuously strengthening each other has brought us where we are today. I am very happy with the result, which was achieved in close collaboration with Vattenfall.”

Hans Wichink, director of SwifterwinT

Source: Vattenfall/Windplanblauw Image: Dutch Drone Company

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