WEM202002

bluegreenfeather

#2

Volume 7

December

2020

energy

magazine

Building during a pandemic

Fryslân Wind Farm

Building a wind farm in land locked

waters brings along certain challenges.

Some of them comparable to offshore

projects, some of them bigger...

u Page 06-10

Decommissioning

Many onshore wind turbines are

reaching the end of their operational

life. This creates new business

opportunities but also challenges.

u Page 22-25

Small turbines

Deploying wind power in the built

environment is inherently complex

and requires the right technology for

the right job.

u Page 28-32


We know which way

the wind blows.

ENVIR Advocaten is the expert if it comes to wind energy projects, whether

it concerns permits or administrative proceedings. Together with our clients

ENVIR Advocaten creates a fast, efficient and uncomplicated permit process.

We combine our expertise and experience for clear analyses and practical

solutions, so together we achieve the best result.

ENVIR Advocaten The specialist in environmental law and administrative law

www.envir-advocaten.com


Editor’s note

Cloudy days

This time no cover depicting wind turbines against

a beautiful blue sky but one with clouds. It’s a

symbol of the COVID-19 pandemic that has

been hanging above our heads like a blanket of

gray clouds for the past nine months now, affecting us in all

aspects of life and work.

At the same time, you can also see installation activities taking

place below the clouds. With that, the photo also symbolises

the resilience that the wind energy sector has shown throughout

this period. In this example, it shows the construction of Fryslân

Wind Farm in the IJsselmeer, which despite everything, is gaining

momentum (p. 6). But construction is also steadily progressing

elsewhere on the North Sea and on land. The Borssele 1&2 offshore

wind farm was fully commissioned while the last turbine was installed

in Borssele III & IV recently. On land, Vattenfall opened Prinses Ariane

Wind Farm earlier this year and other projects were given the green light to

start construction. The Dutch wind energy association NWEA, has

summarised the overall experience and challenges faced so far by their members

for us (p. 34).

22

Decommissioning

And while we continue to build, the first generation of wind turbines is already being

removed on land. Because they just reached the end of their operational life, or

because they have to make way for larger more powerful ones. And this poses a new

challenge for the wind industry. Already the current number of turbines to be disposed

of is creating a problem. But what to do with all those megawatts of turbines that will

be removed in the coming years? This is currently a hot topic. According to

WindEurope, there are already some 34,000 turbines 15 years or older. In this edition,

a specialist in decommissioning of wind turbines provides insight into the challenges

that lie ahead (p.22).

And while all eyes are on the ever-increasing turbines, small turbines for industrial and

agricultural businesses and for the built environment are finding their way onto the

market. And the Dutch turn out to be quite innovative in this area. In a first edition in

a series of Made in Holland… we portray as many small turbine designs as possible by

Dutch companies. Some have made it to the market and some haven’t. This special

will be published in March. In this December-edition, we already provide a summary

of the technical aspects that have to be considered (p.28).

I hope that when we say goodbye to 2020 in a few weeks, we also say goodbye to the

worse part of the pandemic period and start looking forward to some relief in the

course of the new year. And hopefully, what we are all waiting for, a relief from virtual

communication and renewed opportunities to meet each other in person again.

Wind Energy Magazine will also get a fresh new start in 2021. In the course of Q1 we

will launch a new, more complementary website and a new name, more fit to its

purpose. So, watch this space!

‘But what to do

with all those

megawatts of

turbines that will

be removed in the

coming years?’

For now I wish you a wonderful holiday season and....

stay safe and healthy!

Sabine Lankhorst

Editor in Chief

Wind Energy Magazine

Windenergy-magazine.nl

02-2020 | 3


Contents

Wind Farm in Focus

Fryslân Wind Farm: Facing the challenges of the IJsselmee 06

Innovation

Loophole in Patent Act possible threat to Dutch offshore wind innovations 14

EAGLE-ACCESS System: A multi-functional access system dedicated

to offshore wind 16

Staalbouw Boom: Big in complex and custom-made steel components

steel components 19

C1 Wedge Connection 20

AGIX Energy: New approach to decommissioning 22

Small Wind Turbines

A technical introduction 28

Cover

Aerial view of foundation installation

in Fryslân Wind Farm. Photo by

Flying Focus. © Windpark Fryslân

Page 6

Regular features:

Offshore Wind Farm News 12

Column: ENVIR Advocaten 21

Onshore Wind Farm News 26

General News 38

Agenda 40

34

COVID-19:

the experience so far

Colofon

energy

magazine

VOLUME 7 | DECEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 02

Wind Energy Magazine, a trade magazine

for professionals who are involved or

interested in onshore and offshore wind

energy developments in the Netherlands.

Publication:

Wind Energy Magazine.

Publishing company:

Blue Green Feather

Dr Boumaweg 4

8601 GM Sneek

The Netherlands

Website:

www.windenergie-magazine.nl

www.windenergie-nieuws.nl

Social media:

Instagram: windenergymag

Facebook: @WindPowerNL

Twitter: @WindEnergieMag

Editor in Chief:

Sabine Lankhorst

Contributors to this edition:

Eize de Vries, Mischa Brendel, Erik van

Diest (NWEA)

Advertising:

advertising@windpowernl.com

Subscription fees, annual:

The Netherlands/Belgium:

€ 40 (incl. VAT)

EU & ROW: € 60 (incl. VAT)

Subscriptions may start at any moment

and will be automatically renewed after a

year. Subscriptions can be cancelled two

months prior to the end of the subscription

period.

ISSN 2352-7560

Copyright © 2020 Blue Green Feather

The publisher does not necessarily agree

with the views expressed by the

contributors, nor does he accept any

responsibility for any errors of translation

in the subject matter of this publication. No

part of this publication may be reproduced

and/or published by means of print,

photocopy, microfilm or any other medium,

without the prior written consent of the

publisher.

Personal data:

Wind Energy Magazine records reader data

for the purpose of distribution of the

magazine. These data may be used to

inform you about our other services or

products.

Design:

Content Innovators

4 | 02-2020


06

Fryslân Wind Farm

In September, offshore construction activities

started in the IJsselmeer. With 89 wind

turbines, Fryslân Wind Farm is the largest wind

farm built in land locked waters. EPC Director

Joris Hol tells about the experience so far.

16

EAGLE-ACCESS System

In October, a demonstration was held of a new

multi-functional access system dedicated to

offshore wind.

22

A new approach to wind turbine

decommissioning

AGIX Energy

Thousands of wind turbines will reach the end of their operational life in the

many years to come. This offers opportunities for companies that (will)

specialise in the removal, resale and processing of these turbines, and everything

else involved. However, the recently founded company AGIX Energy BV is offering

a full service decommissioning package.

28

34

COVID-19

It has been nine months since the Dutch Prime Minister

announced that we all should work from home where possible.

But when you are building a wind farm, this is not an option.

NWEA assigned a Corona Coordinator for the wind industry.

Small Wind Turbines

Small wind turbine applications range from supplying off-grid

and grid power in developed and developing countries, and both

installations in ‘the open field’ as well as infrastructural. Each

specific application requires matching solutions.

02-2020 | 5


6 | 02-2020

Photo by Joeri Haaker


Sabine Lankhorst

Wind Farm in Focus

Facing the challenges of the IJsselmeer

Fryslân Wind Farm

When the 383 MW Fryslân Wind Farm is ready in 2021 it will be the largest wind

project in the world ever built in land locked waters. But that is not the only thing

that makes the project special, says Joris Hol, EPC Director of the project: “I have

been involved in various offshore wind projects, but never in a project where

almost nothing is standard and so much is happening at the same time.”

We met at the project office in Kornwerderzand, on

the Afsluitdijk. The room where the interview took

place offered a view of a cargo vessel loaded with

four monopiles waiting for sail out to the

construction site. In september, the construction activities moved

offshore, announcing a new phase. A good time to look back on his

experiences so far.

Prior to the Fryslân Wind Farm (WPF) project, Hol was part of

the team that handled the tender preparation for the Borssele III &

IV offshore wind zone for the Blauwwind consortium. Before that

he worked for Eneco on the Luchterduinen offshore wind project,

amongst others. When Hol met one of the shareholders of the

developing company Windpark Fryslân Holding BV, the project

was still in the early stages of development. Initially he was hired as

a consultant to help determine the strategy regarding the SDE

subsidy application and the tendering process with contractors.

Soon after he was asked to work as construction director with the

Ventolines team on the project management of the wind farm.

Time pressure

The integration plan for WPF was adopted in September 2016.

However, the permit was not yet irrevocable at that time and a

procedure against the building of the wind farm was to be placed

before the Council of State. In the meantime, the preparations

continued as usual. In December 2016, the team started preparing

the tender for WPF, and subsequently, using this information, they

applied for the subsidy which was awarded in June 2017. Hol:

“When we applied for the subsidy at the time, we never expected

that with delays the procedure at the Council of State would

eventually take eighteen months. This meant that the final permit

‘I told the team on day one that

we were going to treat the wind

farm as an offshore project’

for the project was not granted until July 2018, putting the project

under considerable time pressure.”

A condition when awarded a subsidy is that a project must supply

electricity within a set number of years. Since there is no separate

regulation for projects on inland waters, WPF was considered as an

onshore wind project, where a term of four years applies.

Therefore, the entire wind farm would have to be connected to the

grid by June 2021 in order to receive the full subsidy. For offshore

wind farms a term of five years is applicable.

No standard equipment

In Hol’s opinion, the fact that WPF was regarded as onshore wind

regarding the subsidy scheme diminishes the difficulties being

encountered. “On the contrary, it is actually more of an offshore

project. I had told the team on day one that we were going to treat

the wind farm as an offshore project. In fact, it would be even

more complex than an offshore wind project, as components and

logistics would have to be tailor-made for this environment.” This

results from the fact that the IJsselmeer is closed off from the open

sea by lock gates which are not wide enough to allow the large

specialist installation vessels to traverse. Once in the IJsselmeer the

water is too shallow for existing wind farm installation vessels

Standard equipment can therefore not be used. (See Box I)

Longest Dutch land connection ever

The high-voltage connection from the wind farm to the national

high-voltage grid is just as complex as that encountered offshore.

Hol: “The grid connection for offshore wind farms is nowadays the

responsibility of the government, through grid operator TenneT.

We must arrange the grid connection ourselves. All in all, this has

turned out to be a huge job that has taken at least 18 months.”

This is because it is a uniquely long connection. A new transformer

station had to be built at Breezanddijk, followed by a 55-kilometre

cable connection to TenneT’s new high-voltage station in

Oudehaske. This is longer than the offshore connection of some

Dutch offshore wind farms. For TenneT it is even the longest land

connection ever in the Netherlands, says Hol: “this has to do with

02-2020 | 7


the fact that here in rural Friesland we are not in the main

arteries, so to speak, but in the capillaries of the TenneT

network. It is not strong enough to connect a wind farm of

this size.”

As a result, the network had to be strengthened. In

addition, the first 8.5 kilometres of the connection had to

be installed on the Afsluitdijk, under the cycle path. For

this, several directionally drilled connections have been

made under the highway. This happened simultaneously

with the renovation work on the Afsluitdijk being carried

out by Levvel. “Thorough coordinate was required, well in

advance, so as not to get in each other’s way. In particular,

the traffic measures that were necessary to keep the

Afsluitdijk open during the work turned out to be a

greater challenge than expected,” says Hol.

Change in tender

To compensate for the delay in the granting of the

definitive permit, mitigating measures had to be taken. At

that time, the project was set up based on multicontracting,

whereby the scope was divided into four

parts: turbines, Balance of Plant (foundations and park

cabling), the transformer station, and the export cable.

Because Rijkswaterstaat allowed only certain time frames

in which work could be carried out on the Afsluitdijk, the

scope for the export cable had already been tendered to

Visser & Smit Hanab at an early stage. The export cable

activities started at the beginning of 2019.

“Due to time pressure, we switched to the method in

which one consortium takes care of everything. Managing

everything ourselves would have resulted in too many

risks,” Hol explains. The tender was prepared in such a

way that despite the time pressure, a competitive bid

would take place. In the end, three consortia registered for

the tender.

PHOTO: FLYING FOCUS

Sarens Soccer Pitch and support vessels

When the redeeming news arrived that the permit was irrevocable,

the final award could immediately be made to one consortium, the

Zuiderzeewind consortium of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

and Van Oord Offshore Wind. At the time, these partners were also

responsible for the construction of the first wind farm in the

IJsselmeer, Westermeerwind. Although Westermeerwind was from

the same initiators this did not influence the award for WPF,

according to Hol. “At the time, Siemens simply had the turbine

with the largest power and rotor within the maximum

requirements set for the site and they also scored well on the

planning,” he explains.

Financial Close then followed on October 1, 2019. The project

financing process, from bank launch, was completed in six months.

Hol: “That’s quite fast when you consider that of the 850 million

euro required for this project, approximately 700 million euro had

to be collected from banks.” One of the conditions for completing

the financing is that a ‘detailed design’ must be ready. Each

foundation pile must be specifically calculated, requiring extensive

soil research. “This entire process normally takes between 18 and

20 months, says Hol, we created an integral design in 12 months

with a joint design team. This is different from normal and as a

result we have gained a lot of time.” With the achievement of

financial close, the production of the large components for the

wind farm could now also start.

Local content & participation

The contracts for production of the components were placed all

over the world (see page 10). Yet there is also local involvement.

Hol: “Fryslân wind farm is a project in the province of Fryslân, by

Frisian initiators. There is real personal involvement and a bit of

Frisian pride. When the Province of Fryslân announced that it

wanted to participate in the project, we knew for sure we had to

focus on local content.” This resulted in great initiatives, he says.

More than 70 Frisian companies became involved in various ways

in the realisation of the wind farm. A great example is the

production of the 89 internal platforms by the Frisian Amicon

(formerly Bijlsma Constructies). “If we hadn’t encouraged this, it

probably would never have happened. There is no experience to

build on, unlike the international producers. More quality and


u INSTALLATION EQUIPMENT

The same consortium partners who were responsible for the

construction of the 144 MW Westermeerwind (WMW) wind farm,

the first wind farm in the IJsselmeer in 2016, are now building

WPF. However, this does not mean that the construction of WPF

is a simple case of ‘copy-paste’ exercise. With 89 turbines, WPF

will be almost twice the size of WMW (48 turbines). The turbines

with a tip height of 180 metres and a capacity of 4.3 MW are also

considerably larger than the 3 MW variant in WMW. The new wind

farm is also being built in even shallower waters, varying from

just three to six metres. All this has a major impact on the

equipment that can be used for the construction of the new wind

farm. Hol: “We included the experiences at WMW in the

methodology and choice of equipment for WPF.”

In order to be able to install the heavy components in shallow

water, Van Oord, together with crane specialist Sarens, developed

a unique floating installation platform at an early stage. The

floating platform, now known as the Sarens Soccer Pitch (SSP),

consists of small pontoons connected by beams that together

are an area the size of half a football field. Due to its length and

width, it forms a stable platform to perform lifting operations

without touching the ground. A Sarens crane with a lifting

capacity of 1250 tonnes was installed for the heavy lifts required.

The SSP will be used for the installation of various wind turbine

components. During the installation process, the work platform

is constantly in the construction field, as long as the weather

conditions permit. The components are being marshalled at

various ports and shipped to WPF. The SSP’s first job is driving

the 89 foundation piles. The piles are manufactured in Germany

and are supplied by three cargo ships, the Lady Alida, Lady

Amalia and the Lady Anne Beau.

safety checks are therefore needed. Ultimately it turned out very

well and production went smoothly.

”The immediate vicinity also shares in the revenues of the wind

farm. Every year, WPF will deposit an amount of 720,000 euro

into an environmental fund to finance local projects along the

IJsselmeer. In addition, Frisian residents are also given the

opportunity to participate in the wind farm through bonds. This

process starts with the completion of the project and is organised

by the shareholder of the Province of Fryslân.

Nature development

Attention is also paid to the natural environment at the wind

farm. For example, a work island/nature reserve near

Kornwerderzand has been constructed. This island consists of 2

hectares above water and about 25 hectares under water. The

island serves as a work island for storage and shelter for vessels

during the construction of WPF. From the moment that the first

wind turbine is operational, the entire island will only have a

nature function and may no longer be used as a work island.

During the installation work, the work platform is held in position

by means of four anchor posts. A second crane vessel, the Triton,

together with the Sarens crane, hoists the monopile from the

cargo vessel, after which the pile is lifted upright. The pile is then

driven into the seabed up to approximately 30 meters with the

aid of a hammer (IHC Hydrohammer). A gripper with

components designed by TWD is used to drive the pile into the

seabed as efficiently and straight as possible. Several smaller

ships support the process.

At the time of publishing the very last foundation piles and

concrete platforms were being installed. The latter is performed

by the vessel Hebolift 4. As with WMW, the turbines have no boat

landing and concrete platforms are again used.

A start was also made on laying the inter-array cables. This

activity posed a challenge at WMW with regard to reaching the

right depth, says Hol. For WPF this was prepared more

thoroughly. Construction of the wind turbines will start in the

spring of 2021. To meet the June 2021 deadline, a double spread

will be used during the installation of the turbines. Therefore, a

second installation platform will be added soon.

It then becomes a resting and breeding place for birds, bats and

marine life. An ecological monitoring plan will keep track of the

development on and around the nature island in the coming

years. A noble idea but also a necessary one because it is one of

the conditions in the permit.

02-2020 | 9


Hol: “We are not just doing this to tick a box. It means more to

me. WPF was also a sponsor of the Wildlife film festival in

Rotterdam and has built a so-called ‘Honey Highway’, a verge full

of native plant seeds, along a large part of the cable route on land.

Hol would have liked to see this applied to the route section on the

dyke itself, but very strict vegetation requirements apply to a water

defence work. WPF is also participating in the nearby fish

migration project of the province. Hol: “We looked at an early

stage whether we could coordinate our projects in such a way that

it would ultimately become a better project ecologically. A wellintegrated

design has been produced in consultation. We took a

risk here because the project still had to be put out to tender and

so there was a real risk of delay for us.

Perception of the environment

A project of this size will always generate resistance, Hol agrees,

but we have taken the environment into account as much as

possible in the design of the wind farm. Where at Westermeerwind

a block of two rows has been chosen, WPF has the shape of a

hexagon where the turbines are set up in parallel rows and

electrically connected via 12 separate strings. “Despite the fact that

WPF involves many more turbines, wherever you stand the wind

farm always turns away from you optically.” This was a conscious

decision because a hexagon is not the most ideal layout for the

wind farm.

The design of the substation on Breezanddijk also considers the

perception of the environment. This had to be fitted into the

landscape, again a requirement for the permit. The station is partly

sunk into the dyke so that it does not protrude above the

characteristic Afsluitdijk. The façade of the station will

consist of all small aluminium plates that move in the

wind, making it a true work of art. In addition,

there will be a corridor in the middle of the

station with glass walls on either side.

Those interested can look here and

learn about the operation of the

station and the wind farm. WPF

has involved students from the

Communication and

Multimedia Design course

at NHL Stenden

University of Applied

Sciences, who have

made illustrations for

the station and

developed an app for

visitors. In addition,

the wind farm will be

navigable for leisure

vessels. “In this way

we try to give a bit of

experience to

everyone.”

WIND FARM FACTS

u Owner: Windpark Fryslân Holding B.V.

u Shareholders: Begro, Vianne, Province of Fryslân

u Project management: Ventolines

u Contractors: Zuiderzeewind (Van Oord Offshore Wind &

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy)

u Power: 383 MW

u Turbines: 89 x Siemens Gamesa 4.3 MW

u Tip height: 180m

u Hub height: 115m

u Rotordiameter: 130m

u Monopiles: EEW SPC, Germany, Mean length: 40m and

diameter of 4.5m

u External platform: AARSLEFF BIZ Sp. Z.o.o. Świnoujście,

Poland

u Internal platform: Amicon, Winsum

u Tower sections: 3 per turbine, o.a. Welcon, Give, Denmark

u Blades: Siemens Gamesa, Morocco

u Hub: Siemens Gamesa, Brande, Denmark

u Platform cranes: Wesco IJmuiden

u Inter-array cables: TKF: 90km, 33kV, produced in Lochem

u Transformer: 2, Siemens Energy, Austria

u Export cable: 110kV, Prysmian, produced in Delft

u Ports: Alaskahaven, Amsterdam (TMA Logistics),

Flevokusthaven Lelystad, Oude Zeug,

Wieringerwerf, Harlingen & Urk

10 | 02-2020


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Offshore

Wind Farm News

3

5

1

Fryslân

See p. 6-10

2

IJmuiden Ver

The Netherlands Enterprise

Agency (RVO) has selected

Fugro to perform 3 geotechnical

investigations for the

offshore wind farm zone

IJmuiden Ver. The fieldwork

will run from February to

August 2021. The results will

be used for future developers’

tender submissions for the

zone. IJmuiden Ver is located

approximately 62 km off the

Dutch west coast. There are 4

deisgnated sites: IJmuiden Ver

I, II, III, and IV. These will be

tendered in 2 phases. The first

tender, for sites I and II, is

scheduled to open in 2023.

The application period to

develop III and IV is scheduled

to open in 2025.

3

TENNET

Hollandse Kust Zuid

Preparatory activities for the

1,500 MW Hollandse Kust Zuid

(HKZ) wind farm are ongoing.

In July, Vattenfall took the final

investment decision for the

project. The wind farm will

consist of 140 Siemens

Gamesa 11 MW wind turbines

and two offshore stations. Sif

Group will supply the monopile

foundations. Vattenfall is

using a foundation design

without a transition piece. As

this is new to Sif, several tests

will be performed. This summer

a first mock-up trial was

completed at Sif’s Maasvlakte

2 location. A second and final

mock-up trial is scheduled for

March 2021. Also, a UXO identification

campaign by

UXOcontrol started in July.

In September, the jacket foundation

for the first offshore

station (HKZ Alpha) was installed

by Heerema’s Sleipnir.

The Van Oord-Hellenic combination

installed the two export

cables which connect the first

station to the renewed

Maasvlakte 380 kV high-voltage

station. Offshore construction

will start in the summer of

2021. The wind farm is to be

completed in 2023. O&M will

take place from a new service

facility in the Port of IJmuiden.

4

Borssele 1&2

In November, Ørsted commissioned

the 752 MW Borssele

1&2 offshore wind farm.

Borssele 1&2 provides enough

green electricity to power the

equivalent of one million

Dutch households.

The construction of the wind

farm took place in less than

nine months. A total of 94

wind turbines from Siemens

Gamesa with a capacity of 8

MW have been installed on

monopile foundations in water

depths varying between 14

and 36 meters. The main suppliers,

besides Siemens

Gamesa, were Sif, Bladt, EEW

SPC and EEW OSB for the

foundations and Nexans for

the cables. The installation

was carried out by DEME

Offshore and Van Oord.

The wind farm is connected to

the onshore high-voltage grid

at Borssele by TenneT. Ørsted

carries out the maintenance

of the wind farm from a new

O&M location in Vlissingen.

Borssele III & IV

The last of 77 MHI Vestas

V164-9.5 MW turbines for the

731,5 MW Borssele III & IV

offshore wind farm was installed

at the end of November.

The first turbines have been

delivering power since August

2020. When fully commissioned,

the wind farm will supply

enough renewable energy to

power the equivalent of

825,000 Dutch households

every year.

Borssele III & IV is built by the

Blauwwind consortium, including

Partners Group (45%),

Shell (20%), DGE (15%) Van

Oord (10%) and Eneco Group

(10%). The consortium won

the tender in June 2016.

In October, 2400 flat oysters

were placed around the foundations

of wind turbines. The

trial, a joint initiative of

Blauwwind and De Rijke

Noordzee, will investigate

whether oysters can establish

themselves permanently in

the wind farm and whether

this attracts new nature.

5

BLAUWWIND

ØRSTED

4

FUGRO

2

12 | 02-2020


1

2

3

4

5

Read the full news

on www.windenergymagazine.com

(EN) or

www.windenergienieuws.nl

(NL)

02-2020 | 13


Interview

Sabine Lankhorst

Walter Hart, partner Dutch & European Patent Attorney at EP&C

Loophole in Patent Act is

possible threat to Dutch

offshore wind innovations

The Netherlands is known for its innovative strength. This is no different in the

field of wind energy. Especially at sea, many gigawatts of power will be installed

in the coming years. Innovation plays a major role in reducing the costs of

offshore wind. But how well are Dutch technical innovations relating to offshore

wind energy protected?

Walter Hart, partner Dutch & European Patent

Attorney at EP&C, a consultant and service

provider in the protection of Intellectual Property,

sends out a warning to those companies and

organisations that are engaged in technical innovations aimed at

the offshore wind industry.

Offshore wind does not fall within the

definition of natural resource

The Dutch Patent Act (Rijksoctrooiwet 1995) provides

innovating companies the opportunity to protect their

innovations with a patent. In this way, the company has a fair

chance to develop the innovations, to market them exclusively

and, for a period of 20 years, reap the benefits.

In the Dutch Patent Act, oil and gas are classified as a ‘natural

resource’. Technical innovations in the field of oil and gas

production can therefore be protected on the continental shelf,

outside the 12 mile zone. But what about the relatively young

offshore wind industry?

‘With the ever-growing size of

turbines, this requires rapid

innovation in, for example,

transport and installation

techniques. A patent makes

innovation possible’

It turns out there is a loophole. In the definition of natural

resources, reference is made to ‘the mineral and other nonliving

resources of the seabed and the subsoil, as well as living

organisms belonging to the sedentary species …… (Chapter 1,

Article 1 in the Dutch Patent Act). Offshore wind energy

therefore does not automatically fall within the definition. This

was also confirmed in 2007 by the court in The Hague in a

ruling on a relevant dispute.

Room for copycats

Because this relatively new and rapidly developing technology

is not properly protected in the Act, the chance of piracy

increases considerably. It seems only a matter of time before

copycats, e.g. from China, realise this. Dutch companies may

then be confronted on their own Dutch home market with

copycats who offer their own innovations, at bargain prices.

And this is alarming, says Hart. Especially because this sector

is undergoing enormous development. Dutch companies take

a leading position in this development and already have a

market share of approximately 25 percent of the total

European market. The Dutch government wants to realise 11.5

gigawatts of wind power at sea by 2030. “This involves

enormous amounts of capital. With the ever-growing size of

turbines, this requires rapid innovation in, for example,

transport and installation techniques. A patent makes

innovation possible.”

It is the core-business of EP&C to advise its clients on the

options available to protect their technical innovations. Hart

therefore finds it important that the offshore wind sector is

aware of this loophole. The awareness is currently still

14 | 02-2020


insufficient, he says. The issue is not well known yet. Although

EP&C advises several clients in the offshore wind sector,

conflicts on this issue have been settled so far. The case from

2007 was relatively small. However, with the current

exponential growth in offshore wind, the chance of major

disputes and major damage for Dutch innovating companies

has increased sharply.

Offshore wind sector must sound the alarm

The Dutch Patent Act is updated every few years. Earlier this

year, a survey was conducted to identify suggestions for

adjustments. The change for offshore wind has been included in

this. The outcome of the survey now lies with the Ministry of

Economic Affairs and Climate. Hart can say little about the

chance of success. The current definition finds its origin in an

international treaty, the ‘Convention on the Continental Shelf‘.

The Netherlands therefore is not the only country with this

loophole in innovative offshore wind technologies.

Hart advises the offshore wind sector to exercise its influence

and to raise the alarm with lawmakers. In the end, he stresses,

the current protection of oil and gas technologies on the

continental shelf is the result of strong lobbying by the oil and

gas sector at the time. For those parties who are involved in

innovation in the field of offshore wind, Hart emphasises that

they must obtain good advice.

02-2020 | 15


Innovation

Sabine Lankhorst

A multi-functional access system dedicated to offshore wind

EAGLE-ACCESS

Offshore access systems have become increasingly more important to transfer

people safely from vessels onto wind turbines. The Dutch have been pioneering in

this area and continue to innovate to date. The EAGLE-ACCESS system is a

good example of this Dutch innovative spirit.

At the start of October, over 30

invitees gathered at a safe distant

to witness the demonstration

of the EAGLE-ACCESS

system (EAGLE) in Wierden, at the premises

of steel manufacturer Staalbouw Boom.

It promised to be a rainy day but the occasional

ray of sunlight allowed for the demonstration

to be observed clearly by the

audience.

The EAGLE is a patented integrated electrically

driven crane-based type of access

system which is advertised by its inventors

to be, amongst others, safe, light, simple

and quick to use and to maintain, and not

unimportantly, price competitive to current

access systems in the market. The brains

behind the system are Marco Klitsie and

Willem Prins. The two men had one vision

from the start: to build an access system

specifically for the offshore wind industry

and one where its limitations are not determined

by the system itself but the vessel it

is placed on.

Klitsie, with previous experience in working

with access systems, explains: “The

current access systems are generally designed

for the offshore oil and gas industry.

They are the type of transfer systems whereby

people cross over from the vessel to an

offshore structure by means of a hydraulic,

motion compensated gangway/bridge.

These systems allow for many people to

cross over to a platform. However, the

offshore wind industry requires only a few

people and small cargoes to be transferred

quickly to each turbine. Although fit for

use, the current systems tend to be heavy,

require a lot of deck space, thus larger vessels,

use a lot of fuel and are as a consequence

relatively expensive.”

One system for all functions

The EAGLE allows for the transfer of up

to 4 persons or 1 tonne of cargo. In addition

to this, it can also be used for deck

handling. All deck handling can be done

from 8 to 24 meters from the pedestal. No

additional equipment such as lifts or rolling

trolleys are required. Combining multiple

functions already creates cost savings.

No complex technology

The technology behind the crane-type design

is simple. The design only requires 3

electrical drives to control the tip. The system

is 100% electrically powered (380 –

480V at 50-60 Hz), making large hydraulic

power packs and generators unnecessary.

It only needs a maximum power of 75

kilowatts from the vessel. At 27 tonnes,

this system is much lighter than alterantive

systems weighing easily over 100 tonnes.

For use on smaller vessels

Due to the multiple use and simple technology,

the system requires less deck space.

The EAGLE is welded onto the deck of a

vessel, or, in case of an integrated application,

it needs only space for a pedestal. This

is a big advantage over some of the access

systems on the market, Klitsie says. In addition,

it not necessarily has to be placed in

a central space as with other systems. extending

25 metres high with a radius of 27

metres vertically from the pedestal.

The EAGLE has a large reach, extending

25 meters vertically from deck level and 27

meters horizontally from the pedestal centre.

As a consequence, it can be placed at

the aft, where the heave is more evident,

and still have an optimised vessel heading.

Placing the system at the aft leaves even

more deck space, saves fuel and offers

comfort. All this enables a large operational

window. The large reach and minimal use

of deck space allow the system to be used

on much smaller vessels than the current

transfer systems allow. Klitsie: “We can

work from vessels of 65 meters and larger

with DP2 systems.

Easy mobilisation &

installation

The system is transported in sections (3)

to the port by road, via special transport.

Once at the quayside, next to a moored

vessel, the system is assembled quickly and

then lifted onto the vessel in just one lift

using a standard mobile crane. Onboard

the vessel, the system is welded to the deck

and electrically connected. Klitsie: “The

whole process can be done in one day.”

Quick & safe transfer

The cabin can be entered directly from

the fixed landing station on deck or on the

TP. No climbing is required. Once inside

and with the cabin door closed, the cabin

frame is already connected. In addition to

standard means of communication, the

user can rely on the now common traffic-light

colours and acoustic signals.

Once the cabin has been lifted off the vessel,

it is transferred to the TP where the

user can step out as soon as the light turns

green. The complete transfer takes only a

minute.

The demonstration of the EAGLE in

Wierden showed the quick change between

16 | 02-2020


Partners

In 2016, Klitsie, general manager, and

Prins, technical manager,

founded the company EAGLE-ACCESS

B.V. in order to further develop the

concept into a functioning design

which could eventually be brought to

market. In 2018, the Van Halteren

Group B.V., a Dutch family owned

group of companies, came on board as

an investor.

EAGLE-ACCESS system demonstration

people and cargo transfer. If there is cargo

that needs to be transferred, the cabin is

uncoupled with a quick release and then

the load can be latched on directly and

transferred using the same procedure.

No lifting cable is used and beside some

winches there are not many moving parts.

Using the 3D tip sensor with a damping

system the vessel movements can be fully

motion compensated during the transfer of

either people or cargo, completing the transit

in comfort. In the first design review,

performed by Controllab, it became clear

that the tip occurrence of the system remains

within the sphere of 20 cm during

all operational phases. This was confirmed

in all following tests and reviews, including

the hardware and the electrical installations.

All of this should lead to a high

uptime.

In the tip of the crane there are also standardised

cameras equipped with object detection

from IFM, a well-known supplier of

object detection systems. These can detect

both people and objects, calculating the

distance to the EAGLE. An alarm will alert

the operator before any contact between

the EAGLE and people or cargo.

One man can do the job

The release of the cargo is activated automatically

by the operator. No banksman or

for that matter anyone else is needed on

the TP to guide the landing and the release

of the cargo. This means that the system

can be used at night when the crew is

asleep to already transfer the load or perform

deck handling, further widening the

operational window of the system.

No additional cabin for the operation of

the system. The EAGLE can be entirely

operated from the bridge by the vessel’s

crane operator. Only a small control area is

needed in the wheelhouse. From the

bridge, the operator gets a good overview

of the operation and will have good communication

with the DP operator or with

the deck and people in the cabin. The cameras

support the operator visually on a

10_CREDIT

With this investor and financial support

from the Netherlands Enterprise

Agency (RVO) via the ‘Topsector

Energiesubsidie’ programme, the team

could start building the system. And

while all conceptual development and

technical knowledge was available inhouse,

the team also needed external

partners to realise the construction of

the new access system. Klitsie: “We

needed flexible partners who are

located nearby. Partners with the

required knowledge and experience for

developing this new offshore access

system.”

Three main partners were selected.

Soesterberg-based ELMA BV was

chosen for the drive & control

technology, including electric

engineering and installation. ELMA is

supported by Enschede-based

Controllab for the motion

compensation and software

development. Staalbouw Boom in

Wierden was selected to manufacture,

assemble & test the system. The

EAGLE falls under the requirements for

man-riding cranes and walk2work

systems. All required steps are tested

and certified by Bureau Veritas. Just

before the demonstration, Bureau

Veritas performed the FAT (Factory

Acceptance Test).

screen and with audio signal. The operation

is semi-automatic. The operator can set

target points and will have only to control

the speed of the movements. The same

goes for the landing.

Remote support

All instructions and information required

to operate and maintain the EAGLE are

provided. A qualified crane operator will

02-2020 | 17


Innovation

be familiarised on the system. With no

external operators or banksmen required,

this contributes to cost savings. The

EAGLE has a fully redundant design. If

there is a power failure on the vessel there

is a battery back-up pack available. The

system can therefore be brought back at

any time. In case of a repair there is a small

set of spare parts on board or otherwise

quickly available from the company’s own

stock or supplier. If technical faults occur

which cannot be solved by the operator

himself, remote support will be provided

by one of EAGLE-ACCESS service engineers.

All that is required is an internet

connection.

Digital twin

All data, including camera images, is logged

for training and work procedures improvement

purposes. Klitsie: “We are currently

developing a simulator together with

Controllab which not only trains the operator

but also forms a digital twin of the

EAGLE. With the digital twin you can read

your data back and learn from it.

Combined with the data of a vessel you can

also predict the workability of the system in

combination with the vessel, a highly useful

feature when talking to potential clients.

Next steps

This article was written just before the

EAGLE would complete static testing and

start dynamic testing at Staalbouw Boom

in Wierden. This next step will compare the

expectations from the static tests with the

dynamic setup.

Klitsie: “We look forward to taking this

next step with our partners. We are

currently working on some minor open

ends. For example, we still have a residual

movement in the tip. We aim to work with

standard equipment where possible but in

this case the dampers we purchased did

not perform as much as well as was

expected, consequently we have decided to

design and manufacture them ourselves.”

The company hopes to start the port and

harbour acceptance assessment and sea

trials in early Spring. Ideally a work period

combined with the sea trials to perform a

lot of transfers of people and cargo and

directly get a track record. The sea trials

are supported by the Carbon Trust

Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA)

Programme. Companies from around 75%

of the offshore wind market are partners of

the programme. One of the programme’s

partners will facilitate the offshore tests. At

the time of the interview it was not known

which company would be supporting the

EAGLE.

18 | 02-2020


Mischa Brendel

Innovation

Big in complex and custom-made

steel components

The family company Staalbouw Boom BV

was contracted by EAGLE-ACCESS to

develop the mechanical part of the

offshore access system. The Dutch

company is run by the brothers

Benno and Jan Boom, who have

been working for the on- and

offshore wind industry for about

12 years now.

One of their earliest customers

in the offshore wind industry

was wind turbine producer

Lagerwey. “We built the first

components on top of their masts,” says

Benno Boom. And that is what the company

excels at: building complex and

custom-made steel components for installations.

Boom has all the disciplines in

house to develop high-end products: from

drawing the designs up to complete assembly

and testing. This is where Boom is

complementary to engineering firms, for

their practical input, flexibility, and

experience.

Staalbouw Boom is a supplier for machines

and equipment both in steel and stainless

steel. They deliver custom fit products and

services, which means they are heavily involved

in the development of a product

from start to finish.

This was also the case in the development

of EAGLE. Boom: “A great deal of

customisation is involved, but that’s

something that we’re used to. We are a

project driven company and as a result are

heavily involved in all our projects. What

made this one even more fun is that it was

all new. That

means that you

run into things that

need a solution that

has never been

fabricated before, or you

find things that lead to new

insights during the fabrication

process.” An example is the case

where the way in which the welding of

the components was planned to be

performed had to be re-evaluated. But

according to Boom that is the way the

fabrication of a total new product works:

“Sometimes you have to take three steps

back before you can take one step

forward.”

Staalbouw Boom and EAGLE met on

several events and that got them to talking.

It all ended in a collaboration with the first

EAGLE prototype due in early 2021. “The

‘Sometimes you have to take three steps

back before you can take one step forward’

fabrication starting point was somewhere

around November 2019,” Boom says. “The

most recent visit was on October 7th, when

we had an open day for potential customers.

Right now, we are working on the final tests

and small adjustments to reach the point

where we can start the dynamical testing.

After that the system can be dismantled and

made ready for sea trials, which will take

place early next year.”

COVID-19

Like with virtually all companies,

COVID-19 has had its impact on

Staalbouw Boom. New projects have been

delayed and postponed. Next to that it has

quite the impact on the availability of the

workforce. Although Boom took many

measurements for its employees to keep

safe distance from one another and avoid

unneeded contact, the company does have

to cope with a higher rate of sick leave.

Luckily, this is not harming the production

process at this time.

The development of EAGLE is continuing

according to schedule and both companies

are confident that the system will be

finished on time for the first sea trials,

something which Boom is looking forward

to.

02-2020 | 19


Innovation

Sabine Lankhorst

tools are very handy and weigh less than

10 kilos, Winkes explains. This is a

significant difference from the

conventional connections where the bolts

can weigh well over 20 kilos each and the

tool weighs more than 50 to 60 kilos. The

connection can be completed very

quickly. “With three people at a time, it

only takes a few minutes to temporarily

secure it and the full connection is ready

in less than half an hour.”

C1 Wedge Connection

The Dutch private company C1 Connections BV has

developed a low-maintenance connection that can be

used to connect tubular steel foundations to

Transition Pieces or directly to tower sections. The

connection, the C1 Wedge Connection, is to offer a

cheaper, faster and safer alternative to the

conventional bolt connections.

According to Jasper Winkes,

director of C1 Connections, the

conventional bolt connections,

the L-flange connections, are

reaching their limits in terms of the load

that this connection can bear. This increase

in load is due to the continuous increase in

turbine size and the growth in turbines in

countries with increasingly extreme wind

speeds. The company therefore developed a

prestressed symmetrical connection that

not only can bear a higher load, but is said

to be also faster, safer and cheaper to use.

The C1 Wedge Connection is used to

pull down a fork shaped upper part of a

steel tube over a lower part. Both the fork

and the lower tube contain large ovalshaped

holes where the fastener slides in

that pulls both tube parts together by

means of two wedges. Thus creating a

symmetrical prestressed connection.

The connection is immediately confirmed

relatively well via a quick connection.

This is in contrast to the installation with

traditional bolt connections where the

parts are still loosely stacked before the

bolts are placed and tightened. The quick

connection immediately creates a safer

working environment.

In addition, the relatively smaller bolts of

the C1 Wedge Connection ensure that

less heavy tools are required to bring the

bolts to the correct tension. The reuired

10_CREDIT

Another great additional advantage is the

service life of the connection. The

connection shows minimal fatigue

phenomena. In theory, the connection

can last the life of the turbine without

any maintenance. Winkes: “What makes

this connection unique is that the

connection will still reach its life span,

even if theoretically there is only 10%

preload.

The C1 Wedge Connection was recently

tested in Delft in full size, with a

diameter of 4.5 meters. Parallel to this,

C1 Connections performed tests, using

computer simulations, on the impact of

forces that occur using this connection

during the driving of foundations. In

addition, test pieces were dynamically

loaded for thousands of hours. The tests

confirmed the aforementioned benefits of

the connection. All these factors provide

an advantage in both CAPEX and

OPEX.

C1 Connection works on the further

development for application in wind

turbines in close collaboration with

Siemens Gamesa and TU Delft. The

emphasis here is mainly on the

connections above water. This

development was funded by the

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

The three parties also work together on

the development towards market

readiness. Winkes: “Together with

Siemens, we investigate the specific

transport requirements, the installation

challenges, and what it takes to produce

in large numbers, amongst other

things.”

The C1 Wedge Connection is currently

undergoing a certification process at

DNV GL. Several patents have been

obtained on the technique and several

patent applications have been filed.

20 | 02-2020


Column

Erwin Noordover

Lawyer at ENVIR Advocates

Will we meet the

target?

Five years ago, the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, in which countries agreed

to combat climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. With this reduction, global

warming must be limited to a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and

preferably a maximum of 1.5°C, this century. However, the United Nations

Environment Programme, the environmental branch of the United Nations, has warned in

its annual Emissions Gap Report 2020 that global warming will still reach 3°C this century.

It is true that the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decrease in CO2 production,

but in the long term this will not lead to a permanent reduction. The report is clear on

whether the world is on track to bridge the gap to the intended CO2 reduction: “Absolutely

not”.

‘When the RESs

are ready in

mid-2021, we

will have nine

years for a task

that is many

times greater’

Where do we stand in the Netherlands with the targeted reduction of CO2? Four years after

the Paris Climate Agreement, the Dutch government presented our own National Climate

Accord to implement it. Based on this agreement, 30 Dutch energy regions are in the process

of drawing up Regional Energy Strategies (RES) to realise a total of 35 Terawatt-hours

(TWh) of energy production from onshore wind and solar power by 2030. To illustrate: 1

TWh is around 152 turbines or a solar field of 1,665 hectares. Based on the RES concepts,

the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) concluded that the national target

of 35 TWh will be more than met. The bid based on the concepts is approximately 50 TWh.

Good news for the viability of the Climate Accord, but there are still plenty of bumps in the

road ahead. The aim is for all definite RESs to be in place by the middle of 2021, after which

we will see what the actual impact will be in terms of TWh. The spatial impact in particular

will present challenges. After all, many of the possible areas still need to be filled in concretely,

and only then will it become clear how much wind and solar will be realised.

Previous experience can provide insights and warnings for the implementation of the RESs.

For example, in June 2013 the national and provincial governments agreed on the realisation

of 6,000 MW of onshore wind energy, as a contribution to a 14% renewable energy target for

2020 and 16% for 2023. The Monitor Wind op Land 2019 shows that by the end of 2019

3,534 MW of renewable energy capacity was operational and that by the end of 2020 almost

certainly 4,509 MW would be operational. This is the result of seven years of work towards

the target of 6,000 MW. When the RESs are ready in mid-2021, we will have nine years for a

task that is many times greater. How realistic is this task? Past experiences are not very

promising, but hopefully the need to comply with the Climate Agreement will stimulate a

quick roll-out of the RESs.

The economic and personal impact of COVID-19 is great, but it causes no more than a small

dip in CO2 production. Climate change has not taken any notice of COVID-19 either.

Combating climate change through compliance with the Climate Agreement may ask even

more of us than the handling of COVID-19. Let us take the cooperation and the speed in

finding a vaccine for COVID-19 as an example for the roll-out of RESs.

02-2020 | 21


Interview

Sabine Lankhorst

AGIX Energy BV

New approach to

decommissioning

According to recent research by WindEurope, there are approximately 34,000

wind turbines in Europe aged 15 years or older. This offers opportunities for

companies that (will) specialise in the removal, resale and processing of these

turbines, and everything else involved. However, the recently founded company

AGIX Energy BV is offering a full service decommissioning package.

I

have a meeting with Oxana Danilevich and Tom van der

Linde, the managing directors of AGIX Energy BV (AGIX).

On location, because how better is it to talk about removing

turbines than where it actually happens. When approaching

the meeting location, at the Westereems wind farm in Eemshaven,

I get the impression however that I’m arriving at a construction

site rather than a decommissioning site. These are not some old,

small, first-generation turbines that are being removed but nine

Enercon E82 3 MW turbines.

That makes this project unique, says Danilevich upon arrival, not

only in the Netherlands but perhaps even in Europe. “These

turbines are only 11 years old. When you consider that the average

lifespan of a turbine is 20 to 25 years, they are not even halfway.”

For Danilevich, this project is also special to her personally.

Although she has been managing director of Antro Group in

Belgium since 2011, her career in wind energy originally started in

the Netherlands 12 years ago. To carry out this major commercial

project with AGIX in the Netherlands makes it extra special, she

says enthusiastically.

The 9 turbines are removed because a completely new wind farm

with 24 turbines (Enercon E136 4.2 MW) is built nearby in the

polder, Van der Linde explains: “Those turbines will be placed too

close to these turbines, causing wrong turbulence.” They are

therefore not, as is often the case, replaced by more powerful units.

The day of the interview, the last parts of turbine number 8 were

loaded onto transport trucks to go to storage. “For this type of

turbine, we generally need 2 days to build up the cranes, 2 to 3

days to prepare and perform the dismantling, and 1 to 2 days to

take down the cranes,” Van der Linde explains, “Yesterday,

however, the weather conditions were so good that we were able to

bring all parts down in one day. The project is progressing with

faster speed than we originally planned.”

Second life

In this case, the turbines get a second life, says Danilevich. The

generator, rotor, nacelle and upper tower section are going to a

new destination in Spain. Most critical components such as towers

and foundations will be newly built by the end customer. In

January or February, the parts are picked up and shipped to Spain.

Until then, these will be stored in Eemshaven.

Second-hand turbines are a good solution to bring down the

CAPEX, she says. For example, where projects based on new

turbines purchase are not profitable enough for the investors due

to low wind speeds effecting limited yield or for the reasons of

high project expenditures or financing difficulties. But also when

customers have no experience with wind turbines yet. If the

experience with a second-hand turbine is good, they often next

purchase new turbines.

In addition to Spain, UK, Italy and Poland are also major markets

for used turbines. Although the Polish government announced

some time ago that second-hand wind turbines are no longer

welcome. She also sees opportunities for African countries and

Russia in the future. It depends on local initiatives and on

regulations. The list of new markets will therefore continue to

change.

Danilevich notices that the market for used turbines is maturing.

Until about 5 or 7 years ago, she saw that customers were mainly

interested in buying single turbine units. Nowadays, the customer

is increasingly a developer who is not by definition the end user of

the turbines himself, but acts as a kind of EPC contractor for

investors. She provides the example of the Spanish customer who

buys the 9 turbines for four projects. In this way, larger purchases

are made. This is an ideal construction for AGIX. Increase of the

technical quality and reliability of used wind turbines are also

expected coming years, Danilevich assumes. For example, some

22 | 02-2020


APIX Energy BV

APIX Energy BV is a 50/50 joint venture between

the Dutch company IX Wind and Belgian Antro

Group. Both parties have known each other for

years, but the first talks about a possible

collaboration started 2.5 years ago. Danilevich

noticed that the brokering market, up to a few years

ago her company’s core business, had stagnated.

The market became increasingly transparent,

whereby selling and purchasing parties could find

each other more easily directly and added value of

brokers went sharply down. At that moment the idea

arose to offer a full service package. However, she

realised that it was not possible to do this alone.

Bringing together the specialisms of the two

companies would be a logical step. For example, the

core business of Antro Group lies in the trading of

second-hand (used and never used) wind turbines,

while IX Wind provides advice in HSE, Project

management, development, construction and

commissioning of wind farms in the Netherlands,

but also in Europe and Asia.

During 2 years, several strategies were explored and

the international market proposition developed.

With the winning of the Westereems project and the

prospect of multiple other assignments, the

partners knew they were on the right track.

In November this year, AGIX was officially a fact.

In total, there are now seven people working for the

company. In addition to Van der Linde and

Danilevich as managing directors, there is also the

director operations, Marvin Clazing. Together they

form the core team. In addition, IX Wind employees

are deployed in the administrative preparations and

processing of projects, HSE and operations, such as

site management. Danilevich is mainly dedicated to

the commercial activities such as bringing in

customers, purchasing and selling turbines, contract

negotiation, marketing, etc.

ALL PHATOS BY AGIX ENERGY

All photos in this article depict decommissioning activities at Westereems Wind Farm. © AGIX Energy

02-2020 | 23


Interview

wind turbines may go through modernisation and retrofit as part

of the life time extension programme and will be also re-certified,

which bring them more value for later re-sell.

Recycling

Although there will remain a market for second-hand turbines in

the coming years, this will not be nearly enough to accommodate

the volume of turbines to be removed. With the exception of the

rotor blades, almost everything from a turbine can be 90%

recycled, says Van der Linde. This is more difficult with the rotor

blades. However, the volume is already too large to bury in sand

pits, so solutions must be found for recycling.

“We are looking into this and are in contact with most of the

parties working on a solution to recycle the blades or with industry

clusters that are jointly exploring this challenge,” says Danilevich.

For example, there are parties that process blades into furniture,

infrastructure and even tiles. “However, it is still in its infancy. The

technology is already there, although it still has to be further

developed to be able to process the large volumes. The sales

market for final goods is not yet big enough though. As a result,

recycling is currently still a major expense for a turbine owner. For

example, you pay about 500 euros per ton to recycle blades.

Sometimes this is even without the entire logistics.”

The open question is who are the buyers and how are we going to

market it. According to Danilevich the market should not wait too

long because there will be competition coming from other

markets, such as aviation and the maritime industry, who will also

be looking for suppliers.

Concrete foundations

Meanwhile, preparations are taking place for the demolition of the

towers. Since these are made of concrete, this requires a different

method than with steel towers. The demolition is performed using

a crane with a demolition ball. Van der Linde: “In this case two

different contractors are involved in the removing of the towers

and foundations. There is not much expertise nor companies that

specialise in the demolition of this type of concrete towers, since

these are one of the first units of such size being demolished.”

‘The recycling technology is

there but needs to be developed

for large volumes. However, the

sales market for final goods is

not yet big enough’

The foundation removal will be performed by a local company,

but the tower demolishing works were outsourced to a German

party. The concrete is reused, adds Van der Linde, it is so pure that

they can make completely new concrete from it.

That morning, I was supposed to witness the demolition of the

first tower. We were waiting for the port authorities to give the

thumbs up for the road protection method.

Full service scope

While we waited for the green light for the demolition, we moved

to the nearby office of RWE, which AGIX may use temporarily.

RWE owns the Westereems Wind Farm, which consists of a total

of 69 wind turbines. Here we continue our talk about AGIX’s

plans.

AGIX presents itself to the market as a multi-brand turbine

turnkey decommissioning service provider. We are different from

other parties in this respect, says Danilevich: “where other

parties specialise in one part of a decommissioning project, we

offer a full service scope.” The company provides a complete

scope of services to wind farm owners related to the Planning,

Monitoring and Disposal. The standard scope starts from site

inspections with stake holders, time planning, HSE aspects,

contract management, permitting and communications to

authorities, then proceeds with purchase and sales of wind

turbines, their dismantling and transportation and finishing with

foundation demolishing, waste management, site restoration and

valorisation.

All scope of works is proceeded with close project management on

AGIX side. As the main contractor, the company takes on all risks

in the project implementation. AGIX carries out all management

and administrative tasks in-house. The company works with

24 | 02-2020


subcontractors for practical implementation such as logistics work,

lifting activities, dismantling, foundation removal and demolition

work. Van der Linde: “You cannot expect a demolition specialist to

maintain communication with all stakeholders. In this project

there are already about 30 stakeholders. For this assignment alone,

a year of preparations was required. We took part in the tender for

the project in April 2019, won the contract in November 2019 and

could finally start in October this year.”

On the wind turbines buyers side, the scope of supply depends on

the wishes and experiences of the customer. In the case of the

Westereems project, the responsibility passes to the end customer

as soon as all components included in the supply, such as nacelles,

blades, generators and top towers sections, are loaded on trucks.

However, AGIX also helped the customer get in touch with the

packing company, the local logistics company, negotiate with the

port for storage and cargo pick-up, and offered project

management.

That day the company was busy preparing for the dismantling

and HSE scope for another unit in Eemshaven, which is a Vestas

V90 3 MW on a 100m tower. In another project, in the Jacoba

Rippolder, AGIX will dismantle a 2.5 MW Nordex N90 turbine.

Here they provide turnkey services in which the turbine is

purchased by AGIX. The scope of agreement includes HSE

aspects, dismantling, loading and transportation to Vlissingen

port. Negotiations are also underway for two additional units.

No fixed contractors

What makes the proposition also unique is the fact that the new

company does not work with fixed contractors. “We want to do

every project as cost-efficiently as possible for the wind turbine

owner. Every project is unique, which is why we always choose the

best subcontractors with the most applicable experience for that

specific wind turbine technology and project scope,” she adds.

Local players are looked at as much as possible. They are familiar

with the surroundings and the authorities. If no specialist can be

found locally, this will be sourced outside.

A matter of getting used to

Particularly in the Netherlands, this way of working is not the

common way, Danilevich says: “Project owners still have to get

used to this proposition, we notice. Large companies such as RWE

(innogy) and Eneco already appreciate this approach, but the

smaller project owners, such as agricultural communities, are not

yet very comfortable with being served on turnkey basis. We must

therefore invest time in convincing them that our proposition to

have one company taking on full responsibility is safe and cost

efficient.” The two partners however have full confidence in a

bright future.

02-2020 | 25


Onshore

Wind Farm News

1

Nij Hiddum-Houw

Green light was given for the

construction of the Nij

Hiddum-Houw wind farm at

the start of December. In this

repowering project, 16 wind

turbines are replaced by 9

more powerful units.

Vattenfall and Gooyum-Houw,

a partnership of 45 private individuals

and companies from

the region, are developing the

project together. Vattenfall will

own 4 and Gooyum Houw 5

turbines.

The current Vestas turbines

with a total installed capacity

of approximately 5 MW have

been operational since 1995.

The 9 new turbines, type E136

EP5, have a hub height of

109m, a rotor diameter of

136m and a tip height of 177m.

Each has a capacity of 4.65

MW. The combination Jansma

Drachten BV – M. Westra BV

from Drachten and Franeker

respectively will carry out the

civil work. The first green electricity

is expected in the second

half of 2022.

2

De Drentse Monden en

Oostermoer

All 45 foundations were completed

at the end of November

in De Drentse Monden en

Oostermoer wind farm.

Turbine installation is progressing.

The wind farm is an initiative

of Duurzame

Energieproductie Exloërmond

B.V., Windpark Oostermoer

Exploitatie B.V. and Pure

Energie. The project will see

26 | 02-2020

©DRENTSEMONDENENOOSTERMOER

2

45 Nordex N131/3900 wind

turbines installed in 6 line arrangements.

The first turbine

was already installed last year

in order to perform tests on

the EMC radiation level, as per

agreement with the owners of

the nearby located LOFAR

telescope.

3

A2 Lage Rooijen

The Maasdriel municipal

council established on 25

November the zoning plan for

the A2 Lage Rooijen Citizen

Wind Farm. The Municipal

Executive subsequently issued

the Environmental Permit. The

province of Gelderland previously

already issued the nature

permit. The A2 Lage Rooijen

Citizen Wind Farm is an

(50:50) initiative of

Coöperatie Bommelerwaar

and Green Trust. The plan provides

for the installation of 3

wind turbines east of the A2

highway, near exit Kerkdriel.

If the project gets the final goahead,

construction of the

wind farm could start in 2023

and become operational at

the end of 2023.

4

Windenergie A16

On 2 December, the Dutch

Council of State issued a positive

final decision on the

provincial zoning plan

‘Windenergie A16’. The plan

provides for 28 wind turbines

over a length of 28 km along

the A16 motorway. They are

developed in clusters:

Streepland (3 turbines) and

Klaverspoor (6 turbines),

© ENERGIEA16

Zonzeel (6 turbines), Galder

(3 wind turbines) and

Nieuwveer (2 turbines). In the

fourth cluster, Hazeldonk, 8

turbines will be realised.

The wind farms are developed

by several parties, including

the energy companies Pure

Energie (7 turbines spread

over 3 clusters), Eneco and

Vattenfall (Klaverspoor Wind

Farm). The latter has already

started with the preparatory

activities for the construction

at the end of October.

Together, the turbines generate

an estimated electricity capacity

equal to the consumption

of at least 100,000

households. The turbines are

expected to be operational at

the end of 2022.

5

Blaakweg

The construction of the

Blaakweg Wind Farm near

Nieuwe-Tonge has been completed.

The 3 wind turbines

are expected to become fully

operational by the end of the

year. Blaakweg is one of two

new wind farms that are being

developed in the area surrounding

the Battenoert Wind

Farm which has been operational

since 2016 (upscaling of

a wind farm from 1996).

© DELTAWIND.CAROLA VAN DER LINDE

5

4

The project consists of 3

Nordex wind turbines with

a total capacity of 10.8 MW.

The initiators of the

Blaakweg Wind Farm are the

energy cooperative Deltawind

and Eneco (50:50).

6

Kroningswind

Kroningswind has reached

financial close for the construction

of 19 turbines at

Goeree-Overflakkee. The wind

farm will have a capacity of

approximately 80 MW and is

expected to produce the first

electricity by the end of 2022.

A consortium of banks consisting

of KBC Bank, Rabobank

and NWB Bank will provide

long-term financing for the

Kroningswind Wind Farm. This

is in addition to the equity of

the shareholders TDP and the

listed infrastructure investor

TINC.

Vestas will supply 19 V117-4.2

MW wind turbines with a rotor

diameter of 117m, hub height

of 91.5m, and tip height of

150m. H4A is the contractor

for the civil engineering works.

Preparations for the construction

have already started. The

electricity will be purchased

by energy company Eneco for

the first sixteen years.

© KRONINGSWIND

6


1

2

5

3

6

4

Read the full news

on www.windenergymagazine.com

(EN) or

www.windenergienieuws.nl

(NL)

02-2020 | 27


Small Wind Turbines

Eize de Vries

HAWT versus VAWT

Design and

operating principles

Small wind turbine applications range from supplying off-grid and grid power in

developed and developing countries, and both installations in ‘the open field’ as

well as infrastructural. Each specific application requires matching solutions

linked to maximum / optimal size, mean wind speed, and configuration and

operating principle.

Small wind turbines are according the IEC-61400-2:2013

standard defined as having a maximum 200m² rotor

swept area, equivalent to 16-metre rotor diameter for

horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs). The rotor swept

area of vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) is by contrast

composed of the projected area of rotor diameter and height. The

Canadian Wind Energy Association CanWEA defines power

ratings between up to 300kW.

However, what is viewed as ‘small’ today was mainstream in the

late 1970’s / early 1980’s during the modern wind industry

pioneering era. They are also tiny compared to the latest and

announced onshore and offshore turbines with rotor diameters

now already over 173m (onshore) and 228m announced for

offshore respectively, and both continuing to increase.

HAWT- common architecture

HAWT’s with aerofoil type blades operating according the

aerodynamic lift principle are most common. Small turbines

come either in two or three blade configurations, with the rotor

mounted upwind to approaching wind or alternatively

downwind behind the tower. Two-bladed turbines of similar

size require for similar output either wider blades (bigger

chord), must rotate faster and/or comprise a combination of

both. A disadvantage of increased blade tip speeds is higher

aerodynamic noise.

With upwind rotors the wind hits the blades before passing to the

tower (mast) downstream, requiring an external system for yawing

(redirecting) the rotor towards the approaching wind. Common

for roughly 0.5 – 10kW ratings is an uncomplicated passive

mechanical device called tail vane. Downwind rotors direct

themselves towards the wind without requiring a wind directing

device.

An aerodynamic efficiency of around 30% (Cpmax 0.3) is

considered a practical maximum range for small HAWT’s, set

against the theoretical ‘free-flow’ maximum of 59.3% known as

Betz limit.

‘VAWT’s offer a distinct

advantage over HAWT because

they can accept wind blowing

from any direction without

requiring a jaw mechanism’

An option for both upwind and downwind is a blades outer

wind concentrator ring or diffusor. Diffusor-augmented designs

are aimed at generating more power from a given rotor swept

area, thereby beating the Betz limit but experiences are at best

mixed.

VAWT - push or pull principle

Many different designs of vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs)

have been developed over the centuries, with evidence of early

designs dating back to the seventh century BC. VAWT’s offer a

distinct advantage over HAWT because they can accept wind

blowing from any direction without requiring a wind direction

(jaw) mechanism. All design concepts originate to two basic

principles, pushed or pulled by the wind. The push principle is

the oldest by far, originally composed of multiple vertical sails or

paddles blown by the wind around their common vertical axis.

28 | 02-2020


©AIRTURB

AirTurb, a two-bladed Savonius-type turbine

Savonius

Rudimentary early concept forms were substantially improved

by Finnish engineer/inventor S. J. Savonius who in 1922

replaced the sails with cups or half oil drums fixed to a vertical

central shaft and the open sides opposing each other. A modern

manifestation of the Savionus concept are turbines from

Windside of Finland. Their artistically shaped wind turbines

with cork-screw shaped rotors range from 0.07 - 20kW and are

claimed especially suited for demanding high-wind and

promotional usages. Maximum aerodynamic efficiency (Cp) of

modern Savonius rotors lies in the maximum range of 10-15%,

and an inherent disadvantage is high specific materials input

for any turbine size (rating and rotor).

Darrieus

French engineer George Darrieus during 1931 invented a new

VAWT-concept with commonly two or more flexible aerofoil

type blades, operating with aerodynamic lift. With the ‘classic’

eggbeater Darrieus rotor shape, the blade ends are attached to

the bottom and top of a rotating vertical shaft. These systems

are normally supported by guy wires and the drivetrain is

located at ground level.A later Darrieus variant is known as

H-shape rotor (H-Darrieus) due to a rectangular shaped rotor

that can be tower mounted. During the period from the late

1970’s up to the mid-1990s there were high hopes for commercial

VAWT breakthrough, but it did not materialise for technical and

non-technical reasons. Wind hitting the front blade of all Darrieus

rotors creates aerodynamic lift, ‘pulling’ the blade along. However,

because the angle of attack continuously varies during a given

blade’s rotation, is most of the time sub-optimal and wind-flow

over the ‘rear’ blades is heavily disturbed. Maximum aerodynamic

efficiency of small-size Darrieus rotors is in the Cpmax ~30%

range.

Most Darrieus turbines are finally not self-starting. In some early

designs, engineers incorporated a Savonius rotor inside the

Darrieus rotor for providing self-starting capability, a choice now

regarded a major mistake because it destroys the latter’s

aerodynamic performance. A modern alternative is a dual-mode

electric machine that both acts as generator, and in motor mode

draws power from the grid for starting-up. Drawback is here that

each stop & re-start action consumes electricity that must be

deducted from gross power generated and leads in gusty wind

conditions to many start - stop actions. During each cycle no

power is produced either.

02-2020 | 29


Small Wind Turbines

Eize de Vries

Safety systems

Small turbines, like their utility-scale equivalents, must operate safely in all

operating conditions with built-in capability for emergency stop / safe idling

condition during mechanical, electrical, grid-related, or other failure.

HAWT

Large-scale upwind HAWT’s are (semi-) standard fitted with

rotor blade pitch control and an active-yaw system with yawbearing-gear

unit, yaw motors and an advanced control system.

However, such solution would be far too costly for small-scale

wind. Pitch control is expensive and maintenance sensitive

because it requires a precision mechanism for adjusting blade

angles at higher wind speeds for limiting output to a maximum

value known as rated speed (V-rated). Active yaw control is also

a relatively costly solution for small wind turbines.

The bulk of small turbines therefore feature fixed-angle (stall)

blades, together with an uncomplicated mechanical hinged or

fixed vane system. This vane solution serves two main functions

and comes in various functional variants.

Common is a hinged-vane system, whereby a first function is

directing the rotor to the prevailing wind direction. A second

functional characteristic is

curbing output to an

approximate maximum (e.g.

5kW), whereby the vane

mechanism gradually ‘folds up’

the rotor at wind speeds from

about 8 m/s. The rotor plane’s

relative position towards the

prevailing wind direction then changes from perpendicular to

increasingly inclined, and the projected rotor area from full

circle to a smaller eclipse shape.

This output limiting impact is reinforced by reduced

aerodynamic efficiency loss due to disturbed inclined airflow

hitting the blade surfaces.

With an alternative vane-type variant the complete rotor tilts

backward at higher wind speeds, which again changes projected

area from full circle to an eclipse shape.

Well-designed hinged-vane systems are considered robust and

eliable in effectively limiting output during high wind speeds,

and many are enabled to continue operating in high-wind storm

weather conditions.

Another output control solution is called rotor-speed control

and could come with or without vane system for directing the

‘Pitch control or active yaw

control are relatively costly for

small wind turbines’

rotor to the wind. Main principle is that the generator in

generator-motor dual-mode function does also act as electricelectronic

brake. Rotor-speed control critics claim that this is

not an inherently fail-safe solution, because there is no back-up

system following a failure in the electric-electronic system.

Rotor speed control could alternatively be added as a secondary

safety and safe-operation feature in supplementing/supporting a

hinged-vane type primary safety system.

Rotors of downwind HAWT’s direct themselves to the

prevailing wind direction. They can either be fitted with a pitchcontrolled

power output control system, rotor-speed-control, or

alternatively stall blade aerofoils that limit maximum rotor

speed.

VAWT

‘Modern’ none-self-starting VAWT’s ‘by definition’ require a

dual-mode electric machine as a necessary start-up device.

Such dual-mode system could

in parallel be deployed as

electronic brake for curbing

maximum output and in even

keeping rated power at a

constant value range (e.g.

5kW) until cut-out (stop) wind

speed. Another alternative

option is a combination rotor-speed control and special blade

aerofoils that limit rotor speed at a pre-set maximum value.

VAWT designs with H-type rotor can either come in stall-type

or with pitch-able blades. Early experiences since the 1970’s

with large-scale VAWT’s featuring adjustable blades were

generally not positive. Main issues were premature wear in the

blade pivot attachment areas leading to vibration-related

damages and material-fatigue related total system failures. The

majority of small-scale H-type VAWT’s developed during the

past decade feature stall-type rotors, but there are also

examples of pitch able blade designs.

30 | 02-2020


Turbine with common hinged-vane system

02-2020 | 31


Small Wind Turbines

Eize de Vries

Performance and yield

determining factors

Experts rightly argue that for any wind turbine ‘the rotor is the motor!’

Power (P) generating potential thereby depends largely on two main

factors: rotor swept area (A) and wind speed cubed (V3), see box.

Performance & yield

formula

Key variables

Key for any wind turbine is the ratio

between power-rating (installed power) and

rotor swept area, known as specific power

rating and usually expressed in watts per

square metre (W/m2). An optimal value for

a well configured small turbine operating in

typical 4.5 – 6.5m/s low-wind conditions is

~125 - 170W/m2. Fitting larger large

generators with for instance 250 – 300W/

m2 would have limited positive impact at

annual energy production, but would still

require a stronger overall design, heavier

electricity cables, etc.

Second key figure is the capacity factor, a

measure to determine whether a given configuration

is optimized for specific wind

conditions. Capacity factor is the ratio between

the actual full-load hours and the

theoretical maximum if a turbine produces

at full power 24/7 all year round. When a

5kW turbine produces 17,500kWh, the capacity

factor is 17,500 / 5x 24x 365 = 0.40

(40%). Such figure is considered excellent

for any onshore turbine. However, ‘a generator

as large as possible’, plus unfavourable

low-wind overall conditions like deploying

very short towers could result in

capacity factors as low as 4% (Dutch

Schoondijke test field evaluation, 2012).

Maximum hub heights of small turbines

are often a 25 - 40m range. Stringent (politically

motivated) permitting restrictions

have even restricted maximum tip height to

15m. Such limitations preventing cost-effective

small-wind utilization simply due to

lack of wind.

Turbines are mounted on towers for good

reasons. A first major reason is an optimal

balance between lifecycle cost and yield,

and the second ensuring ‘safe’ clearance

between a blade tip in bottom position and

the ground. The third reason is to minimize

ground drag and turbulence negative

impacts.

Ground drag is the friction between moving

air masses and the earth surface. The

higher ground drag, the more kinetic

energy in moving air (wind) is “lost” for

power generation. Ground drag decreases

at greater heights measured from the

Earth’s surface, with wind speed thus also

higher.

Turbulence is caused by natural and

man-made obstacles or surface roughness

on the Earth’s surface like with hilly terrain

and buildings and trees, together representing

loss in wind usefulness or ‘quality.’

Higher turbulence levels could negatively

impact a wind turbine’s operational lifetime

but could be mitigated by sufficient

rotor clearance from surrounding

obstacles.

Modest hub height and a 175 – 250W/m2

specific power range are often optimal at

windy (coastal) sites characterized by lower

turbulence levels. Inland sites with higher

surface roughness benefit from high towers

to boost wind speed and in offering more

stable operational wind conditions. A combination

with bigger rotors allows catching

more wind. Striking the right balance enables

optimised yield performance and highest

return on investment.

A Rule of Thumb for inland sites indicates

that each extra metre hub height from

roughly 15 – 30m hub height offers 2 –

2.5% additional yield. Under complex conditions

like forested terrain, a rotor blade in

bottom position should be placed at least

20 – 30m above treetops where wind speed

is almost zero, for regenerating stable wind

flow. Modest rotor size and sufficiently

high tower combination could in such conditions

generally offer optimal solutions.

P

C P

P = C P η me η el 1 2

ρv 3 A

Meaning various symbols:

Turbine output in watts (= unit)

fed into the grid or batteries;

Aerodynamic efficiency when

turning wind power into mechanical

power at the rotor axis, or

power coefficient. The maximum

achievable Cp = 59.3% is

known as Betz coefficient;

η me Efficiency of turning mechanical

power at the rotor axis into mechanical

power of the generator

axis. Mechanical efficiency encom-passes

all combined losses

in bearings, gearbox if

used, support systems, etc.;

η el Efficiency when converting mechanical

power into electric power

fed into the grid (or batteries).

Electric efficiency

encompasses all combined losses

in generator, frequency

converter, possible transformer,

switches and cables;

ρ

v

A

Air density in kg/m3 (~1.25 kg/

m3 depending on environmental

conditions);

Wind speed measured at hub

height and some three rotor diameters

upwind from the rotor

plane in m/s;

Rotor swept area (circle described

by the blade tip) in m2.

Ad. v – Example: If rotor diameter

grows from 5m to 6 metres (+20%),

rotor swept area increases by the diameter

squared (44%).

Ad. A – Example: Energy in the wind

at 7m/s is a factor 5.4 higher compared

to wind blowing at 4m/s.

32 | 02-2020


Introducing the Made in Holland specials:

Small Wind

Turbines

In 2021, Wind Energy Magazine launches a new print series of ‘Made In Holland’

specials. Each special highlights and summarises Dutch expertise in a specific

area of the wind industry chain. The first edition, on small wind turbines for use

in built environment and on industrial/agricultural estates, will not only discuss

the existing turbine designs, but also the models that ultimately failed to enter

the commercial market.

Publishing date: March 2021

Do you wish your Dutch turbine design to be included in this

special, or are you a service provider (e.g. training, installation,

maintenance, component supplier) for the turbines?

More information

Contact us for more information on participation options or to

order a copy. Go to: www.windenergie-magazine.nl/specials


COVID-19

Erik van Diest, NWEA

Adventures of a Home Desk Jockey in times of COVID-19

Impact of

COVID-19

And all of a sudden we were all staying at home. On Thursday,

March 12 2020, the Dutch Prime Minister’s call was clear:

“Work from home as much as possible.” A few days later the

schools were closed. We were faced with a completely new

situation for everyone, including for the wind sector. How

would this impact the industry? Will it come to a halt? Or

could we still continue in some way? At that time, nobody

really knew.

Here at NWEA, one man was quickly assigned to get

on top of this: the so-called Corona Coordinator.

He would be the point of contact for the wind sector,

both on- and offshore, throughout the pandemic.

The nine months that followed since has been full of surprises and

experiences. This is my story. The story of the Corona

Coordinator.

The first weeks

In the wind industry you have both office and field jobs. The

COVID measures are considerably different for each of them

though. As a trade association, we work from an office and a lot of

work was continued online. For those working in the field,

however, whether they are talking to local residents or actually

building and maintaining wind turbines, the restrictions had more

impact.

Vital sector?

The first and most urgent question that rose: “Is the wind sector

considered a vital sector?” Fortunately, many industry members

who are working in the field know how to find us at times like this.

This led to quite some questions going back and forward.

Questions from them regarding what challenges they were facing,

but also questions from us to them on what we could do to help.

The most poignant questions were about getting people to

continue working safely. Something you don’t have to think

about when you are comfortably working from home, without

colleagues and, as a consequence, no 1.5 meter distance to

consider. In addition, delays that could not be remedied were

also common. There is nothing more frustrating than that. This

became even more urgent when the schools closed. If you are

working in a ‘vital sector’, you could bring your children to day

care, otherwise you had to keep them at home. Not really a

practical prospect when you have to repair a stationary wind

turbine.

However, good news soon arrived: the wind sector (and as a

matter of fact, the entire energy sector), as a supplier to a vital

sector is also partly vital (because transporting electricity is

vital). With an emphasis on partial. Because this only applied to

existing wind farms. Those projects under construction were less

fortunate.

So while the existing projects continued their operations, with

some adjustments such as a 1.5 meter protocol, new problems

arose. This first success already gave me the feeling that we are

being taken seriously and that the government also wanted us to

continue our businesses. And that’s a nice feeling, because there

was still plenty of challenges coming our way after this.

We want to build, but how?

Developing and building a wind farm can easily take 8 to 10 years.

It is often established a year in advance when specialised material

must be available for construction. In addition, only a very limited

number of people in Europe are qualified and available to build

wind farms, and not all of them live in the Netherlands. Not to

mention the components that have to come from abroad, where

34 | 02-2020


© WINDPARK FRYSLÂN

Work coninues offshore

some factories even temporarily closed due to the crisis. The next

question that rose was therefore: what is still possible, and what

topics should we address to the government to ensure that the

industry does not come to a halt?

Onshore

The solutions on land turned out to be quite simple. In addition

to paying extra attention to each other, builders from abroad

temporarily stayed longer in the Netherlands. Vattenfall, for

example, was still in full progress of building the Prinses Ariane

Wind Farm where they employed several Portuguese workers.

Instead of the usual shifts of working three weeks and then going

home for one week, these workers now remained in the

Netherlands. A drastic action. Having to see your family and

friends online only for months would be very tough for me too.

But it was necessary in order to be able to continue the project.

Fortunately, in the area of components and equipment things were

easier. Construction could continue when the borders within

Europe reopened after a few weeks. Another problem solved, and

many members slightly happier.

Offshore

At sea, the challenges were slightly bigger. Onshore projects often

comprise one or a few turbines. At Borssele, however, two wind

farms were built with a combined total of 173 wind turbines! The

vessels that are used for these projects have already been booked

for the coming years, therefor delays were not an option. And also

here, a lot of foreign workers are needed to complete the job.

Enough reasons for me to focus on this area.

In the area of safeguarding the health of all workers, it was soon

realised that a two-weeks home quarantine before the start of

shifts could be a good idea. However, the law states that if you

work two weeks, this should be followed by two weeks off. But

having time off in this case meant home quarantine, so it soon

turned out this wasn’t a good solution. To be honest, I myself

wouldn’t even want to consider getting stuck home after you have

just spent two weeks in confined spaces on a vessel.

“As a supplier to a vital sector,

the energy sector was also

considered partially a vital

profession”

Together with the offshore contractors, we therefor conducted a

joint lobby towards the State Supervision of Mines (SSM), the

regulator for offshore wind energy, to temporarily adjust this

scheme (thinking, how long can it really last, such a pandemic?).

And with success. At the beginning of April, SSM announced that

it would temporarily expand the working scheme to a 6 weeks on

02-2020 | 35


/ 6 weeks off schedule, albeit under strict conditions. In

addition, the employees on these vessels were also declared as

performing an ‘essential profession’. As a consequence, foreign

workers could now also return to the Netherlands. A successfull

lobby and the contractors were able to continue the wind farm

construction in good spirits to finish the projects on time (which

they did successfully).

All well, so you would think. However, this scheme turned out to

be too heavy on the workers (and quite understandably when you

work 42 days in a row). In mid-June, the scheme was therefore

adjusted to 3 weeks of work / 3 weeks off. This now runs until

March 1, 2021. As a coordinator I was very happy with this action.

All parties involved had the same goal in mind and here we

managed to find a solution suitable for all.

What about the development of wind farms?

The impact of COVID is most visible in the construction and

operation and maintenance phases of wind farms. But

development is just as important. And here too I was called and

emailed about a number of challenges.

The most concrete and most impactful problem arose when all

local government offices closed and large gatherings such as events

were banned. The granting of permits, for example, had come to a

complete halt and resident consultation evenings had to be

organised digitally in a rush. Both caused delays in projects.

“The 6 weeks on, 6 weeks off

scheme turned out to be too

heavy on the workers”

And to be honest, I think face-to-face conversation just works

better than via a screen. Especially when these concern sensitive

topics such as the realisation of a wind turbine in urban

neighbourhoods. Then I also would prefer to look someone in the

eyes to tell them how happy I am to be able to talk about this

topic. But that is not possible for the time being. So we do it

online.

One might ask, is it really so bad, some delay? Here in the

Netherlands it certainly is. Our Dutch system is set up in a way

that companies that want to participate in the SDE ++ subsidy

round can only do this once a year. So, if you do not meet the

registration date this year, you have to wait a whole year.

With a lot of talking, we managed to bring this to the attention of

the ministry. At the start of the summer, they pushed the deadline

for application back 8 weeks. This meant that many project

developers can still participate in this year’s application round, and

as a result, that there will be plenty of work in the Netherlands for

builders in the coming years. This brought relief to many parties in

the Netherlands, including me. Virtually no projects for a year

© AGIX Energy

would have caused problems down the entire supply chain. Now

we managed to prevent this as well.

So where are we now?

The wind sector continues its business. And continues to thrive. It

was hard work looking for the right solutions with all parties

involved. But I am proud of my sector. Despite everything, we have

shown that we will continue to work towards a more sustainable

world. And that we jointly find creative solutions to our problems:

the builders outside, and I from my secure home office.

And so I continue. Looking at what the second wave will bring us.

But I trust that we as a wind sector will emerge from this crisis at

least as well, if not better. Until then, I will remain there for the

sector.

36 | 02-2020


Experiences from the field

Wind Energy Magazine asked a few of the interviewed companies how they look

back on doing business in these past ten months of COVID-19.

AGIX Energy:

Company introduction during COVID-19

The market was cautiously introduced to AGIX Energy during the

COVID-19 pandemic. This might have been a challenge, but, says

Oxana Danilevich, much to their surprise they have been

extremely busy. “We still have to start with the actual branding of

our name, but in 2020 we were already invited to participate in 15

tenders. Mostly in the Netherlands, but also in France and

Belgium.” A number of these are concrete, including the

Westereems decommissioning project, a Vestas V90 in Eemshaven,

another Vestas V80 in Belgium and a Nordex N90 in Jacoba

Rippolder in the Netherlands. For others the company is still

awaiting the contract.

AGIX ran into some challenges at the start of the Westereems

project. For example, some workers could not get to the

Netherlands on time. Also, the restrictions resulting from COVID

were not always feasible and other ways had to be found to comply

with the rules. For the people who had to work in the turbine,

wearing a mouth mask made it difficult to communicate in the

noisy and oily environment. In another case, a number of workers

from the same team lived together in the house during the project.

They could eventually be considered family. Throughout the

project, permanent teams were used to minimise contamination.

These teams have their own work cabin and have no contact with

the teams from other contractors.

Read the full interview: p. 22-25

Windpark Fryslân: Bubble

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the Netherlands in March

2020, this was a shock for everyone in the project says Joris Hol,

construction director for Fryslân Wind Farm: “We were fully

engaged in the production of the components in factories all over

the world and here in the Netherlands with construction on the

Afsluitdijk. In addition, we were also busy with preparations for

the offshore installation work that was planned for September.”

Fortunately, the construction director can now, nine months later,

look back on the past period with satisfaction. “The project has

not witnessed any delays due to COVID-19 yet. For implementation,

this meant that we all started working from home and inspections

at factories took place remotely; via videos and photos. An

inspector was only sent for really important cases.”

In September, construction activities on the water started as

planned, with the necessary measures to guarantee the health of all

those involved in the project. Hol explains: “At the moment there

are actually two separate worlds. We, as the project team of WPF,

have our own agreements. Everyone works from home where

possible. Here at the office on Kornwerderzand, where the

construction team is located, there is minimal staffing and we

rented extra space to be on the safe side.”

Offshore there is another regime. Here, the so-called bubble is

used. All the Zuiderzeewind marine crew and several customer

representatives are in the bubble. The people work in shifts on two

weeks on and two weeks off base. They remain offshore during

work. They spend the night on a hotel vessel moored at the Oude

Zeug and are brought back and forth to the construction site daily

via Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs). Each time before the crew

enters the bubble, they are tested and then go into quarantine for

two days until the test result is known.

“At Windpark Fryslân, we have only one customer representative,

the so-called ‘client rep’, on board. That’s a shame, of course,

because we are proud of the project and it is nice to see how it

works up close. Fortunately, we are kept directly informed and

provided with many videos and photos. The main thing is that the

project can continue”, Hol emphasises.

Read the full interview: p. 6-10

Staalbouw Boom:

High rate of sick leave

Like with virtually all companies, COVID-19 has had its impact

on steel specialist Staalbouw Boom. New projects have been

delayed and postponed. Next to that it has quite the impact on the

availability of the workforce.

Although Boom took many measurements for its employees to

keep safe distance from one another and avoid unneeded contact,

the company does have to cope with a higher rate of sick leave.

Luckily, this is not harming the production process at this time

and neither the development of the EAGLE-ACCESS system in

which the company is working on, together with the developer of

the system.

Read the full interview: p. 19

02-2020 | 37


General news

Philips, HEINEKEN, Nouryon &

Signify sign virtual PPA for

Finnish onshore wind farm

Royal Philips, HEINEKEN, Nouryon and

Signify have joined forces to support the

development of an onshore wind farm in

Finland. The consortium has committed to

contracting renewable electricity from the

wind farm for the first 10 years through a

virtual PPA (Power Purchase Agreement).

The project extends across the regions of

Central and Northern Ostrobothnia in

Mutkalampi, western Finland, and will have a

total installed capacity of 404 MW. It is being

realised by Neoen, an independent French

renewable energy producer, in collaboration

with Prokon. The project is scheduled for

completion in 2023.

The consortium concludes the PPA for 126

MW power output. The electricity will be

physically delivered to the Finnish grid while

the four consortium partners benefit from

the Guarantees of Origin. While the companies

have signed PPAs for renewable electricity

in the past, this is the first time such a

consortium has formed a virtual PPA to drive

incremental renewable electricity for Europe.

Through this consortium, HEINEKEN will

source renewable electricity for an additional

31 of its European production sites,

chemicals company Nouryon will continue

its progress in reducing CO2 emissions by

25% by 2025, Philips secures renewable

electricity supply to power its European

operations for a 10-year period and Signify

solidifies its leading position on 100%

renewable electricity use and doubling the

pace to reach the Paris Agreement over their

value chain by 2025.

Damen deliveries & orders

Opus Marine

Damen Shipyards Group received an order

for a Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 2710 from

Opus Marine at the start of December.

The vessel, called Allegro, will be delivered

to Opus Marine in March 2021, and will

be used to support the company’s

charterers in the offshore wind industry in

the German part of the North Sea.

It is the first FCS 2710 for the German

offshore wind market. In 2015, Opus Marine

already purchased a Damen FCS 2610,

named Verdi. This was also the first FCS

2610 on the German market at the time.

Total Offshore

Mid-November the Damen delivered a

Crew Supplier 1204 to Total Offshore B.V.

FCS 2710

The crew transfer vessel (CTV), named

Swift, is the first for Total and will be used

to transport offshore personnel to wind

farms in the North Sea. As a CTV, it can

transport up to 12 personnel. It has a semi

Sea Axe Bow design, flat working deck and

all-round visibility from the wheelhouse.

Van Oord wins big cable and foundation

contract for British OWF

RWE selected Van Oord as the preferred

supplier for the engineering, procurement,

construction and installation (EPCI) of the

monopile foundations and array cables for

their British Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.

Van Oord will deploy its offshore

installation vessel Aeolus to install the 100

extended monopile foundations without

transition pieces for the Siemens Gamesa

14 MW wind turbines, while the 350

kilometres of array cables will be installed

by cable-laying vessel Nexus. Van Oord will

© DAMEN

sub-contract the fabrication of the

foundations and array cables.

Onshore construction will get underway at

Sofia’s converter station site in Teesside early

next year. Work on the foundation and array

package is set to begin after the project’s

financial investment decision in Q1.

Van Oord previously worked with RWE on

the construction of the Rampion, Humber

Gateway, Robin Rigg and London Array

offshore wind farms.

Shell & EDF aim for U.S.

offshore wind

Shell, through Shell New Energies US LLC,

and EDF Renewables North America, in the

joint venture Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind,

submitted their proposal to the New Jersey

Board of Public Utilities to supply the state

with up to 2,300 MW of wind energy.

New Jersey seeks to award between 1,200

MW and 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy

projects as part of its second solicitation. It

opened the bidding round in September this

year. Atlantic Shores estimates their first

project would be completed as early as 2027

and if awarded, the largest sized project in

its bid could yield a 16% reduction in New

Jersey’s carbon dioxide emissions from electricity

generation.

© VAN OORD

Installation vessel Aeolus

38 | 02-2020


General news

Ventolines expands business in the U.S.

Dutch renewable energy expert Ventolines

has opened an office in Boston, in the U.S.

From here, the company will serve the

growing offshore wind market in the US

and exercise its recently won contract from

Mayflower Wind.

Mayflower Wind

Mayflower Wind, a joint venture between

Shell New Energies and Ocean Winds (the

global offshore wind collaboration between

EDP Renewables and ENGIE), is developing

a federal offshore lease area, located

approximately 30 miles south of Martha’s

Vineyard and 23 miles south of Nantucket,

that has the potential to generate over

1,600 megawatts (MW) of low-cost clean

energy, or enough to power over half a million

homes.

Ventolines will provide T&I (transport and

installation) expertise on the substation,

the foundations, the array cables and the

wind turbines.

© VENTOLINES

Block Island WF

Van Oord orders ‘green’ cable layer

Van Oord ordered a new cable layer from

VARD in Norway. The vessel measures

130m in length and 28m across the beam.

It will feature a below-deck cable carousel

and a second carousel on deck, with total

cable-carrying capacity of 8,000 tonnes.

The new vessel has been designed with the

latest sustainable technologies. Apart from

the possibility to run on bio fuel, this hybrid

vessel has future fuel ready engines

Previous US experience

Ventolines supervised the installation of

turbines and advised on asset management

for Block Island, the first offshore

wind farm in the U.S., off Rhode Island.

This 30 MW, 5-turbine project

became operational in December 2016.

The company also supplied technical due

diligence for the turbine selection, and

technical support for negotiating the

turbine supply contract, on offshore wind

projects planned for Maryland and New

York. In the Netherlands, Ventolines is

now involved in major onshore wind

projects in the Netherlands adding more

than 1,500 MW of installed power. This

includes the country’s largest onshore

wind farm Windplan Groen (500 MW).

Ventolines is also involved in the Fryslân

Wind Farm.

In addition, the company is involved in the

development of several solar parks, accounting

for more than 350 MW, cable pooling

solutions and multiple storage projects.

with built-in flexibility to anticipate e-fuels.

It will have a large battery pack, a shore

supply connection and an energy management

system. The vessel is to be ready for

work in 2023. It will mainly be deployed in

offfshore wind on inter-array grid and export

cables. It can also install High Voltage

Direct Current cables. Van Oord’s cable

trenchers can also be operated from this

vessel. The vessel will be Dutch flagged.

TenneT, Gasunie and Energinet

explore possibilities Dutch-

Danish offshore energy hub

The Netherlands and Denmark are investigating

a joint energy hub in the North Sea.

Both countries have signed a letter of intent

in which they assigned the grid operators

TenneT, Gasunie and Danish Energinet as

executing parties for additional analyzes. On

the basis of the analyzes, the countries will

make a decision before 2022 whether it is

viable to continue this cooperation.

In June 2020, Dutch Minister Wiebes signed

a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

with the Danish Minister of Climate, Energy

and Utilities, Jørgensen, in which various

energy policy themes were identified in

which the countries would like to work

closely together. An important theme is cooperation

in the field of offshore energy hubs

in the North Sea. Such ‘hubs’ are landing options

at sea for offshore wind farms, whereby

the energy from these ‘central’ hubs in the

form of electrons or even, after electrolysis,

in the form of (hydrogen) molecules can be

transported to different countries.

Denmark wants to have two energy hubs by

2030, one of which is in the North Sea.

Initially, this hub should be able to connect 3

GW of offshore wind farms by 2030, but the

intention is to expand this to 10 GW in the

long term. Because Denmark is not expected

to be able to dispose of these quantities

itself in 2030, an international component is

being deployed at this hub in the form of

interconnection.

In an additional MoU, it was agreed between

the two countries that additional analyzes

will be carried out by TenneT, Energinet and

Gasunie on the joint development of an

energy hub in the North Sea for connecting

offshore wind farms. The studies cover issues

such as the distribution of RE shares

and costs, the design of the electricity market,

the technological options for the electrical

systems, Power-to-X, etc.

The 3 parties are already partners in the

North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium. This

consortium has been engaged in concept

development and research for years into artificial

islands at sea on which several large

transformer stations can be installed to connect

offshore wind farms.

On the basis of these analyzes, a decision

must be taken by the Netherlands and

Denmark before 2022 as to whether it is advisable

to continue this cooperation. The

energy hub should then be realized in 2030

or as soon as possible afterwards. Denmark

has also signed an agreement with Germany

for potential energy hubs in the North Sea

and Baltic Sea.

02-2020 | 39


nieuws

magazine

Agenda

2021*

SMM Digital

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Belgian Offshore Days

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Decommissioning & Recycling

1 April

Rotterdam, Netherlands

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