MHI Vestas announced on Wednesday that it has been selected by offshore wind developer and operator Parkwind to provide its 9.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbines for the 219 MW Northwester 2 Offshore Wind Power Plant set to be built off the coast of Belgium in the North Sea.
As a result of the firm order for the supply and installation of 23 of Vestas’ V164-9.5 MW wind turbines — an agreement signed in early November — the Northwester 2 offshore wind farm will be the first such project to feature the 9.5 MW behemoths, and will thus, even if momentarily, hold the title of home to the world’s largest wind turbines.
Northwester 2, which reached financial close in early October and is set to be built 50 kilometres off the coast of Ostend, Belgium, is the sixth Belgian wind farm to be built in the North Sea and, upon completion, will boast a total capacity of 219 MW. The project is being developed by Parkwind, a self-proclaimed “360 degrees” company which develops, finances, builds, and operates offshore wind farms, and currently operates 552 MW in the Belgian territorial waters and a further 554 MW in its pipeline for development in Belgium and Ireland.
Northwester 2 has benefited from €700 million in investment funded through Parkwind’s shareholders and trusted financial institutions, as well as €210 million from the European Investment Bank.
“Northwester 2 is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020 and will have a capacity of 219 MW generated by 23 Vestas V164-9.5MW turbines,” said Peter Caluwaerts, Project Director. “The installation will be able to generate 818,60 GWh of electricity annually, enough to cover the energy consumption of 220,000 households.”
Specifically, thanks to a highly collaborative approach between the two companies, supply chain readiness, and the industrialization of offshore wind in Belgium, Northwester 2 is expected to begin installation of wind turbines in late 2019 and completion in the first half of 2020. The project is expected to provide for more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, and a further 100 long-term jobs for operations and maintenance.
“A distinct advantage of the V164 platform has been the preservation of the technology track record,” said Henrik Baek Jorgensen, Vestas Chief Project Manager for Technology. “The platform has gone from 8 MW to 10 MW in a relatively short time – a 25% increase in power output while preserving the track record. This has led to a series of reliable, bankable turbine models that can be moved into commercial operation quickly, if need be. As a case in point, we launched the V164-9.5 MW in June 2017.
“This firm order in Belgium ensures that we will see the 9.5 MW in commercial operation in late 2019, only 2.5 years after its announcement to the market. So even though we’re pushing the boundaries in nominal power output, Northwester 2 is also a good example of how an established supply chain and a solid track record can take us from market launch to installation in such a short time.”