WPNL 202101


Wind Energy Magazine is now Windpowernl. Informing on the developments in the Dutch wind energy sector and its players.


Volume 8



Transport & Installation

Zeewolde Wind Farm

The 320 MW wind farm will not only

be the largest onshore wind farm in the

Netherlands but also the largest

publicly owned wind farm in the world.

Page 06-10

Logistical challenges

With both wind turbines and wind

farms getting bigger and bigger, will

current transport & installation

equipment be future proof?

Page 14-30

Underwater Ecology

The 4th edition of the Offshore Wind

Innovation Challenge called for

‘The Perfect Biodegradable Reef’ &

‘Efficient Biodiversity Monitoring’.

Page 37-45

Make Europe go electric at 2021’s largest wind energy event


Electric City is an enhanced version of your

classic WindEurope event: the entire on- and

offshore wind industry will be there, and new

partners looking to do business with wind will

be there too!

At Electric City we will welcome heavy industry,

mobility, district and domestic heating, storage,

hybrids, hydrogen and many more to form

partnerships and help us deliver an electrified

European economy.

The next chapter of wind energy begins

at Electric City… see you there!

Find out more at: windeurope.org/ElectricCity2021/exhibition




Editor’s note

Dear reader,


long-awaited moment has finally come: we can start

meeting each other again at events! This means also

that our magazine can once again be distributed


I can still clearly remember when the lockdown was announced

in March 2020. We had just sent off a few boxes of magazines

for an international trade fair. A minor setback for us at that

time but for the organisers of the event it was an enormous

setback. A long period of uncertainty followed and it was hard to

make plans for the future. And although the COVID virus will be

with us for a while, we hope that the worst is behind us.

Fortunately for the wind industry activities were able to continue

reasonably well, albeit with the necessary measures. The wind industry,

however, is used to dealing with challenges. It is a sector where

technological developments are so rapid that adjustments must be made

continuously. Wind turbines are getting bigger and bigger and so are wind

farms. This brings new challenges in many areas, including that of transport and

installation. Especially in a densely populated small country like the Netherlands.

This edition features a number of Dutch industry players that are responding to these

challenges that building a wind farm in the Netherlands brings.

The awareness of the necessity of the energy transition is growing here. This does not

mean, however, that everyone is looking forward with optimism to the many gigawatts of

new wind energy capacity that will have to partially support the energy transition in the

coming years. How to develop all these future wind farms in a way that is acceptable for

those who live near those wind farms? Now more than ever it is important to involve all

those who are affected by the development of wind energy and to be transparent from the

start. We have highlighted two projects where this seems to have been the case.


Transport &


Finally, with the need for more (sustainable) energy production, more pressure is placed

on the natural environment. How can we ensure that the installation of new wind farms

minimises the effect on nature or, even better, enhances it? Read about the solutions

provided by the finalists of the 4th edition of the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge.

New name

As you can see, the magazine has been rebranded from Wind Energy Magazine to

Windpowernl. We wanted the title to be more in line with the message of the magazine:

informing about the Dutch wind market and its players.

Pick up a copy of the magazine at Seanergy in France, WindDay, Offshore Seminar and

Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference in the Netherlands and WindEurope Electric

City in Denmark. Have you grown used to the digital world? You can find a copy of the

magazine on our brand new website Windpowernl.com or on our Dutch website


‘Wind turbines are

getting bigger and

bigger and so are

wind farms. This

brings new

challenges in many


Are you active in the Dutch wind energy market? Send us your news at editorial@

windpowernl.com! I am looking forward to speaking to you soon.

Sabine Lankhorst

Editor in Chief



01-2021 | 3


Wind Farm in Focus

Zeewolde Wind Farm: The world’s largest publicly owned wind farm 06

Case study: Harderwijk - A wind farm developed by local authorities 10

Transport & Installation

Business in Wind: Solutions for complex logistical challenges 14

Lagerwey/Enercon Climbing Crane 18

BKV: Adopting to increasingly larger wind turbines and wind farms 19

Windbase: Advanced simulations for crane hardstands 22

Q/A with GustoMSC: A look at future offshore wind turbine installation 28

GBM Works: Eco-friendly and fast pile driving 30


Aerial view of turbine installation in

Prinses Ariane Wind Farm. © BKV

Page 19

Underwater Ecology

Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge 37

Reefy: Ecological stepping stones for offshore wind farms 38

ReefSystems: Underwater nature enhancing solutions 41

ILVO: Zero impact biodiversity monitoring 43

Regular features:

General News 24

Onshore Wind Farm News 26

Offshore Wind Farm News 34

Agenda & Next edition 46


Challenges in

Transport &




Windpowernl is a trade magazine for

professionals who are involved or interested

in onshore and offshore wind energy

developments in the Netherlands.



Publishing company:

Blue Green Feather

Dr Boumaweg 4

8601 GM Sneek

The Netherlands




Social media:

Instagram: windpowernl

Facebook: @WindPowerNL

Twitter: @WindEnergieM

LinkedIn: @windpowernl

Editor in Chief:

Sabine Lankhorst

Contributors to this edition:

Mischa Brendel, Jan-Mark van Meeuwisse,

Arie-Jan van Renswoude

Content contribution:




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ISSN 2352-7560

Copyright © 2021 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

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Blue Green


4 | 01-2021


Complex logistical challenges

In the Netherlands, old wind turbines are

currently being removed at a fast pace. The

Dutch company Business in Wind has

specialized in this, particularly in very

challenging projects.


Advanced simulations for crane


Larger and heavier cranes are required to build

the new generation wind turbines. The Dutch

soil, however, remains as weak as ever.


The largest publicly owned wind

farm in the world

The 320 MW Zeewolde Wind Farm which is currently under construction in the

province of Flevoland will not only be the largest onshore wind farm in the

Netherlands but also the largest publicly owned wind farm in the world.



Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge

In the 2020 edition of the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge,

The Rich North Sea were looking for ‘The Perfect Biodegradable

Reef’ or ‘Efficient Biodiversity Monitoring’ to enhance nature in

offshore wind farms. Windpowernl spoke to the finalists of the


Developments in offshore wind turbine installation

vessel designs

Offshore wind turbines are getting bigger and bigger. What does

this mean for the future transport and installation of these turbines?

Windpowernl asked GustoMSC how the requirements for

installation vessel designs have changed over time.

01-2021 | 5

6 | 01-2021

All photos © Windpark Zeewolde

Sabine Lankhorst

Wind Farm in Focus

Zeewolde Wind Farm

The largest public wind

farm in the world

In the Flevopolder near Zeewolde, more than 200 individual wind turbines are

currently being replaced by 83 modern units. They are part of the 320 MW

Zeewolde Wind Farm that will not only be the largest onshore wind farm in the

Netherlands but also the largest publicly owned wind farm in the world.

At least, they haven’t been able to discover a larger public

wind farm in the world yet, tells Sjoerd Sieburgh,

managing director of Windpark Zeewolde BV, the

owner of the wind farm. More than 200 farmers,

turbine owners, residents and entrepreneurs from the area are

participating. Everyone in the area was allowed to participate, and

more than 90% have done so. This unique event is something he is

keen to emphasize and is something he and his colleagues are very

proud of.

There’s not awareness of this everywhere yet, Sieburgh explains. A

frequently asked question is: who is behind this project? People

immediately tend to think of energy cooperatives when they hear

the words ‘public wind farm’. But that’s not the case here. “This is

really an exceptional project. It concerns a one hundred percent

local community initiative; without energy companies or project

developers involved. 100% energy company initiatives is something

of the past. Here the rule that those who bear the burden, will

receive the benefits applies.”

Only a few did not participate. Sieburgh: “Of the remaining ten

percent, some are just not in favour of wind turbines. Others are

polder. It is also a mainly agricultural area, outside the village

centres. Its residents know from experience that the wind turbines

can bring them money.

“That’s not always the case,” Sieburgh emphasizes, “Many wind

farms in an outlying area in the Netherlands have to deal with a

win-lose situation. Either you have a wind turbine on your land,

with the added benefits, or you are out of luck, because restrictive

conditions in a permit prevent a wind turbine being located on

your land, but will be located on your neighbour’s land.”

This was the case in the 1990s and 2000s, when the old generation

of wind turbines were installed in the area. Sieburgh illustrates this

by pointing out two empty areas on a large map showing the old

and newly planned wind turbines. “Here is a military installation

and over there used to be a transmitter mast of the World

Broadcasting Company. In these areas farmers were not allowed to

install a wind turbine. That had consequences in the polder.”

This time was different, Sieburgh says: “In the area people were

told that everyone participates with equal benefits. If it causes a

disturbance to a person then that person will get compensated.

‘This is really an exceptional project. It concerns a

one hundred percent local community initiative; without energy

companies or project developers involved’

already of age and for that reason let it pass them by. It is also an

illusion to think that you can get everyone completely on board.”

One man one vote

There are circumstances that may have been in favour for the high

participation rate. For one, it concerns a large area of around 300

km² with very favourable wind conditions, a characteristic for a

For example, if a cable or a park road crosses your land, the

turbine rotates over your land, or if your home is within a certain

radius of a turbine, then you will receive compensation.” An

elaborate system has been devised for this purpose. In addition,

there is profit sharing. People didn’t know in advance whether they

would get a wind turbine on their land so that helped the

negotiation process. When the wind farm has been built, interested

01-2021 | 7

parties outside the area will also have the opportunity to participate

financially in the project.

Getting everyone on the same page

The repowering project received the green light in December 2018.

There has been a preliminary process of five years to create support

and get everyone on the same page. That has been the achievement

of a group of farmers, Sieburgh says. “It still remains a very big

challenge to maintain that support so we pay a lot of attention to

what is going on in the area. A farmer lives off the proceeds of his

land. If you change this, you’re changing his livelihood. That can be

experienced as very drastic. You have to take that into account,” he

explains, “You encounter all the human emotions. In general, the

majority are satisfied. Almost all complaints are real, so you just

have to resolve them reasonably.”

An organization has been set up to deal with local interests. Given

the large area, there are three relationship managers, an

environment manager, a contract manager, a land committee and

a crop damage committee. The last committee consists of a farmer,

a steward and an independent person. Six farmers regularly visit the

area to see what concerns are being raised. They, along with

Sieburgh himself and construction director Ton Vrijdag, make up

the eight-member farmer board, with Sieburgh and Vrijdag forming

the management. Initially, the project was set up from an

association, which later became a limited company.

Decommissioning old wind turbines

There is, incidentally, still some confusion as to what is considered

as ‘Windpark Zeewolde’. For example, the permit, which ends in

2042, was applied for by Windpark Zeewolde BV for 91 wind

turbines. However, eight of the wind turbines were transferred later

and are being built by two other parties. Four by Eneco and four by

Pure Energie. Sieburgh explains: “Windpark Zeewolde BV is also

responsible for the remediation of the 220 old wind turbines. The

permit was applied for including these eight wind turbines. The

turbines were transferred in exchange for the total decommissioning

and reversing any environmental damage of wind turbines they had

in our planning area.”

Windpark Zeewolde BV has entered into remediation agreements

with all individual turbine owners. However, it is the right and

privilege of the individual turbine owner to determine what happens

to the turbine: resale or demolition. Each owner pays their own

costs for removal but receives an annual fee from Windpark

Zeewolde BV for the average number of years that would remain in

the life span of the old wind turbines. In the compensation a

distinction is made between four different turbine types. The first

old wind turbine has already been removed in June 2019.

Familiarity with wind turbines

Perhaps this familiarity with wind turbines, albeit smaller ones, also

contributed to the acceptance of the new plan. At that time, farmers

could apply for a permit for a wind turbine on their land and this

was widely used. The result, a patchwork of 220 wind turbines

crisscrossing the landscape. In order to improve how future wind

turbines fit into the landscape, the province came up with the

strategy of upscaling and decommissioning in 2006.

Windpark Zeewolde is now putting this strategy into practice. The

220 old wind turbines from four different turbine suppliers are

making way for 83 wind turbines in six fixed line configurations.

These turbines are higher, but, as intended, have less of an impact

in the landscape.

Almost tripled power capacity

The Danish company Vestas was selected to supply the wind

turbines after an earlier choice fell through. Sieburgh doesn’t want

to elaborate further on this other than, on top of COVID-19, it has

resulted in a delay of four months. Fortunately, with Vestas as the

new turbine supplier and Rabobank as the underwriter, later joined

by EKF, Denmark’s Export Credit Agency, all went well.

Vestas supplies four variations including the V136. This is the result

of imposed restrictions in parts of the area, such as by the

aforementioned military radar station. The height of turbines in the

north-eastern part is also lower due to the proximity of Lelystad

Airport, of which, incidentally, it is still not clear whether it will

actually be used intensively for passenger flights. The wind turbines

along the A27 are the largest, each with 4.3 MW installed capacity

and 220 meters tip height. Moreover, they are also the largest

8 | 01-2021

responsibilities that come with that.” Zeewolde Wind Farm is not

unique in this, by the way, explains Sieburgh. The same goes for the

Windplanblauw, Windplangroen and Krammer wind farms. “You

have to ask yourself, is this desirable? Just add up all those grids and

ask former minister Brinkhorst, who was in favour of public grids,

what he thinks about all those gigawatts of private grids being

created. At the same time, all the grid operators are complaining

that they have no connection capacity for solar.”

But for now, Windpark Zeewolde BV remains responsible for the

connection. Meanwhile, construction continues apace at the wind

farm. Building the largest onshore wind farm in the Netherlands is

a major logistical puzzle. In total, 700 heavy transports are required,

says Sieburgh. The components are manufactured all over the

world. The largest components arrive in Flevohaven by water and

are transported from there to the construction site. This often

happens at night, via special transports. A private exit from the

motorway has been built specifically for this purpose. Several crane

crews work simultaneously on the installation, otherwise the project

would take too long. Because of the different sizes of the turbines,

different crane sizes are also used.

Completion in autumn 2022

At the time this edition went to the printer, about 25 wind turbines

had been installed. On June 21, the first wind turbine was already

officially connected to the grid. By mid-July, all foundations were

completed, three months ahead of schedule. The wind farm is

planned to be fully operational in the fall of 2022 and is then

expected to generate around 850,000 megawatt hours annually. A

long-term contract has been signed with energy company Vattenfall

for the purchase of the power.•

Installation of a V136 along the A27

currently installed on land in the Netherlands – if you do not

include GE’s Haliade-X prototype at Maasvlakte 2. This will be

short-lived, however, because the wind turbines in the future

Windplangroen en Windplanblauw wind farms will be even larger,

says Sieburgh.

Windpark Zeewolde BV does not own any land itself, except for the

site where the substation for the wind farm is located. For the

placement of the new wind turbines, building contracts have been

set up with the relevant landowners. All in all more than a thousand

contracts were signed during this whole process, Sieburgh tells.

Network manager against all odds

That substation, to which all the wind turbines will be connected, is

a private substation. This wasn’t a conscious decision, Sieburgh

says. The law states that all projects over 100 MW must be

connected to grid operator TenneT via their own substation.

Sieburgh: “I’d rather hand it over to the grid managers. We’re now a

private party filling a public function. What’s more, Eneco and Pure

Energie’s eight wind turbines will also be connected to this

substation, which means we’re also taking on the role of grid

manager. With all the regulations, tariffs and all the installation


Owner: Windpark Zeewolde BV

Installed capacity: 320 MW

Number of wind turbines: 83

Turbine type: Vestas V136, V126, V117, V110

Turbine power: Between 2.2 MW and 4.3 MW

Substation: 2 x 240 MWA transformers converting 33 kV

to 150 kV

Connection to national grid: TenneT’s station at the


Companies involved:

Civil works: Windcombinatie Dura Vermeer–GMB

Cabling: Van den Heuvel

Substation construction: Hitachi ABB

Substation maintenance: Volker Energy Solutions

Asset Management: OutSmart

Crane hire: M Verschoor

01-2021 | 9


Sabine Lankhorst

Case study: Wind turbines in Harderwijk

A wind farm developed

by local authorities

In the province of Gelderland, a municipality and a water board have joined

forces to develop a wind farm. Their ambition is also to realize this wind farm

together. The proceeds from the wind farm will therefore go directly and

indirectly back to the residents.

Windpowernl spoke with Leon Pulles, managing

partner of Energy Investment Management BV

who has been involved in the project for five years

now. The case study is Harderwijk, a city located

on the Veluwemeer in the western part of the province of

Gelderland where the wind conditions are favourable for

generating wind energy.

The municipality of Harderwijk was aware of this and of the

sustainability goals the province had formulated. They decided not

to wait but to work with the province to identify the possible

search areas for wind. This turned out to be the Lorentz industrial

estate and the grounds owned by the Vallei and Veluwe Water


The question that followed was: if the municipality would

cooperate, in what capacity? Various roles were considered

including that of developer-investor, developer-concessionaire,

active facilitator or passive facilitator. The preference was for the

role of developer-investor.

Pulles: “Both the alderman at the time and the officials felt that

this role suited them well. The thought was: the energy transition is

necessary and we’re just going to do it ourselves. We’re going to be

generous in terms of participation and use the project as an

example for the wider sustainable transition.”

That strong sense of responsibility may also partly derive from the

fact that Harderwijk lies between two nature reserves; the Veluwe

and the Veluwemeer. People come to live here mostly for that

reason. There is an awareness that a beautiful environment is very

precious, that it must be preserved and that sustainability is

important. Eventually the municipality and the water board made

funding available and the province also helped.

From five to three

The original plan was for five wind turbines, given the considerable

size of the industrial estate. “It sounds good, wind turbines on an

industrial site,” says Pulles, “but we found out that you have to

deal with a lot of external safety and other issues that make it more


Now the plan is for three wind turbines: two on grounds owned by

the municipality in Lorentz harbour and a third on the water board

estate. The turbines will have a maximum tip height of 150 meters.

That has nothing to do with the community’s preference to avoid

lighting on the wind turbines, which is mandatory above 150

meters. The restriction in this case has everything to do with the

proximity of Lelystad airport.

Pulles: “At an early stage we spoke with the Human Environment

and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) and the conclusion at the time

was that we could go higher, so we went on to develop and chose

the location.”

Meanwhile, the sounding board group and council committee had

also visited the wind turbine test field in Lelystad where turbines

with different heights are located. “That visit was really

enlightening. Everyone realized that you can see relatively little

height difference at a distance of 100 meters. The preference was

therefore for wind turbines of 200 meters. Even the people who

were against wind turbines were of the opinion that if it has to be,

then it is better to have bigger ones so that we can generate more


However, when we wanted to concretize the plans with ILT, we

were told no. The issue turned out to be possible nuisance for

small aircrafts. Discussions with experts had revealed that the

negative impact was negligible, so we could have appealed and

probably held out for a long time. The question remained whether

we would ultimately be proved right. We did not feel comfortable

going into the appeal process on this basis. Preliminary processes

for developing wind energy already take long enough.”

Come up with a clear plan

According to Pulles, there are some improvement that can be

made in the development of onshore wind energy. “If we want to

make this energy transition successful then it will have to be

10 | 01-2021

Leon Pulles, Maartje Smit and Joep van Doornik at the Water Board Estate

facilitated in more different ways. The fact that you spend five to

eight years developing onshore wind is absurd.”

“At some point the choice was made to leave the energy transition

up to regional and local authorities, the so-called ‘bottom-up’

approach. That really does have its advantages. For example, more

people are now aware of the energy transition. Officials who

worked on spatial planning five years ago have now been

introduced to the energy theme. The question, however, is whether

this will get us to where we need to be in 2030. If the national

government were to take more control of the energy transition on

land, as they do at sea, then I think the transition would be more

manageable,” says Pulles.

It is still possible, according to Pulles. “Of course we don’t know

what the technologies will be by then but just provide an outline of

what our energy supply will look like in 2030 and 2050, and work

towards it in a focused way. Everyone has the best intentions but

they haven’t really set a final picture yet, as was the case with the

Dutch Delta Works, for example.” Incidentally, this applies not

only to the Netherlands but also to other European countries, he


“If we need that much wind on land, then start looking at where it

can be done best, rather than having each municipality decide

where they think it can be done, only to find out that perhaps no

one in the municipality wants these wind turbines.” Pulles hopes

that perhaps the upcoming new environment law can speed things


He does want to emphasize, however, that the finger cannot be

pointed at the government alone. According to him, the sector

itself could also have played a better role, especially when it comes

to including the public in the story. For example, the sector should

have explained to the public from the start why the energy

transition is necessary, what the impact is, but also draw

comparisons with how things were done in the past. “If you think

about how it used to be with coal firing then you shouldn’t really

have so much resistance,” he says.

Local participation

Fortunately, the municipality of Harderwijk and the water board

largely have the support of the local people and businesses. It helps

that the wind turbines will be located on an industrial estate and

near the water board. In addition, the people of Harderwijk are

used to the view of the wind turbines on the other side of the lake,

in the Flevopolder. Involvement from the outset, however, also

plays a major role in the story.

Pulles: “We said from the start that participation is very important,

that we want to do it well and that there is also room for it. Many

commercial developers take a different view. They think it is

important but are not as generous as we can be. At the end of the

day, it is all about the numbers.”

Besides several information evenings, the initiators were also

present at the Aaltjesdagen, a large public fair in Harderwijk. That

way you reach people who might not come to an information

evening that easy, says Pulles. They also involved young people.

Primary school pupils were taken to the information centre of the

Noordoostpolder wind farm and secondary school pupils took part

in a challenge.

Residents and businesses were asked how they would like to

participate in the wind farm. In Harderwijk, there was much

attention for the collective interest. That made a sustainability fund

a good solution. Proceeds from the future wind farm will go

towards this fund. The fund stands for biodiversity, climate

adaptation, sustainable energy and circularity. The community can

propose ideas within these themes. For biodiversity in particular, it

is usually difficult to make a business case. That appealed to


01-2021 | 11

The return that goes to the shareholders indirectly comes back to

the community. In fact, you can speak of 100% local ownership,

says Pulles; “In addition to the sustainability fund, we would have

liked to organize financial participation by means of participation

loans, but with a project of just three wind turbines, there is limited

space in the business case for this. If we had realized five wind

turbines it might have been possible.”

Current state of affairs

Meanwhile, the SDE subsidy for the project has already been

awarded. Fortunately for the initiators, the government recently

started granting subsidies to wind projects that face a nationally

imposed restriction, such as the height limitation in this case.

Pulles: “This makes the business case a little better but of course

we would have preferred to realize more electricity production.”

The tender is expected to be launched before the end of the year,

with construction likely to start in 2023. Everything depends on

the outcome of two cases that are still pending before the Dutch

Council of State. At the moment the decision making process for

the tender is being prepared and it is determined whether the

choice of the wind turbines should be based on maximum

megawatt hours or on a better financial return. Pulles: “A larger

generator at this height is relatively more expensive. The decision

has not yet been made but we notice that many people prefer more

green megawatt hours.”

Example project

To what extent can this project serve as an example? That really

depends on the municipality, Pulles says. Some municipalities are

already very busy with area developments, such as residential areas

and business parks. Then the risks of developing a sustainable

energy project are not that much different. Meanwhile, all

municipalities are working on the Regional Energy Strategies, so

there is more expertise and awareness. However, some

municipalities find it difficult administratively to do it themselves

or do not get all officials on board. There are of course risks

involved. The most risky phase is until you have the permit. The

investment adds up to a couple of hundred thousand euros,

regardless of the outcome.

On the other hand, the financial returns from the wind farm are

optimally distributed locally. An important advantage is that the

municipality is at the heart of local society and can therefore best

involve various stakeholders in the process and balance the various

interests. It is therefore to be encouraged, says Pulles, because you

get a better mix: projects in which municipalities actively facilitate

and a commercial developer or energy cooperative develops and

projects in which the municipality does it all itself.

12 | 01-2021

Harderwijk project is looking forward to the construction phase



DAY 2021

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Sabine Lankhorst

Interview with Wim Robbertsen, Business in Wind

Solutions for complex

logistical challenges

In the Netherlands, old wind turbines are currently being removed at a fast pace,

mostly to make way for clustered, new generation wind turbines with more

power. The Dutch company Business in Wind has specialized in this, particularly

in very challenging projects.

Windpowernl spoke with Wim Robbertsen,

Managing Director at Business in Wind since

2018. Robbertsen’s career started in earthworks

and hydraulic engineering but in 2004 he was

asked by the founders of Windbrokers, one of the first companies

to trade in used wind turbines, to join them as project manager.

That’s how he entered the wind industry. Through Windbrokers he

ended up at the Indian company Global Wind Power who had just

bought a license from Dutch wind turbine developer Lagerwey to

start selling wind turbines worldwide. After one and a half years

Robbertsen ended up at turbine manufacturer EWT where he set

up the project and service department.

Meanwhile, Robbertsen continued to maintain a good relationship

with Lagerwey. When Lagerwey itself became a manufacturer, he

was asked in 2013 to set up the service and project department

there as well. As Project and Service Director he was responsible

for project realization and maintenance. One and a half years after

Enercon took over, he left.

Business in Wind

At that time, the founders of Business in Wind, Peter den

Braber and Johan Top, who traded in used wind turbines

alongside their own businesses, saw that the, at that time still

small, repowering market would grow in the Netherlands and

decided to invest. Robbertsen already knew Den Braber and

wind turbines here, all of which were given new uses. After this

project, the company gained momentum. Robbertsen: “ENGIE

wanted to promote its circular strategy at this project and

therefore invited a lot of press. This provided us a very nice

platform to promote Business in Wind.”

So far, Business in Wind has dismantled about 70 wind

turbines. For this year, Robbertsen expects a total of about 80

wind turbines. At the moment Business in Wind disassembles

mainly in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The English

and French markets are a little behind but are now coming up.

Business in Wind, however, does not only work on the removal

and trading of old wind turbines, Robbertsen emphasizes. “Our

focus is to do the complete scope; from the removal of the wind

turbines to the complete re-commissioning elsewhere in the

world. For example, we are now working on a number of

projects where we are doing everything for the new owners:

building the roads, foundations, electrical infrastructure and

performing the installation. We then hand over the turbines to a

maintenance partner who will guaranteed carry out

maintenance for fifteen years.”

Rather the best than the largest

Business in Wind currently has a permanent core of five people

and a group of thirty persons around it. However, the company

‘What you see happening now is that the blades

are crossing fifteen meters and so far there is

a policy of tolerance for this’

Top since 2005 and with his extensive network in the wind

sector and international experience he was a good addition.

The first serious project was at Hoogstraten in Belgium for

ENGIE in 2019. Business in Wind dismantled six Vestas V80

has no desire to go large-scale. Robbertsen: “The strategy of

Business in Wind is to pioneer and lead the way. We would

rather be the best than the largest. We want to have a core of

knowledge in house and work with partners who form a good,

14 | 01-2021

A frame was developed that allowed the generator to be transported vertically

reliable shell around this core.” The partners that Business in

Wind works with a lot are Barneveldse Kraanverhuur (see p. ..),

Koppejan Wind Services, Certion and Vlastuin Transport.

Quality and safety are paramount. The latter is still a grey area

in the Netherlands. Because who takes what responsibility in

this industry? There is a German DIN standard for

decommissioning wind turbines and Business in Wind meets it,

even better, says Robbertsen. Meanwhile, the company is doing

what it can in terms of certifications. At the end of April it

received the latest audit from the international certification

agency DNV. Business in Wind is now ISO 9001

(management), 14001 (environment) and 45001 (safety)

certified. Robbertsen: “There are not many companies that

have these certifications. In that sense we have all processes in

place and can work for any serious party.”

The new customers are acquired by keeping an eye on the

market and by being asked. They concern mainly repowering

projects whereby old turbines are replaced by modern ones. In

addition, the company also receives requests to remove a

turbine with technical failure. The repair or replacement costs

are then so high that it is no longer economically viable.

Robbertsen sees this happening more and more now that the

disproportionate growth of solar energy is causing an imbalance

in the electricity grid, which in turn results in moderate

electricity prices.

Business in Wind also provides budgets to parties such as

developers, financiers and banks. For example, they calculate

what it costs to dismantle a wind turbine at the end of its life.

“Ultimately, it’s about money. Our strength is being able to do

the sums to determine whether or not it can be done. We

quantify the risks and convert them into euros,” Robbertsen


Increasingly limited market for reuse

“I can’t predict it but I can do the math that in 25 years the

current turbines will not be reused. Maybe some wind turbines

will still get a life extension but they will not be re-built

somewhere else in the world.” This, he says, has to do with the

associated costs, such as in transportation and cranes. These

costs are no longer proportional to the turbine’s remaining


In addition, the cost price per kilowatt produced by new

turbines is decreasing. Used turbines can no longer compete.

Robbertsen: “Five to six years ago, you paid between 1,000 and

1,200 euros per kilowatt on land. That has now been reduced to

600 to 700 euros, about 30% less. I always say to potential

buyers for used turbines; if you can do new and you can do big

then you should not want to buy used turbines. They look

surprised when I say this, but it’s all about what’s best for the


Also, the demand for used wind turbines is becoming more

limited and particularly reserved for locations where there are

height or power output restrictions. National governments are

also increasingly imposing requirements on the age of a used

wind turbine or even demoting its use by giving better power

prices for new turbines. “At the moment, eighty percent is still

reused and twenty percent goes into the recycling bin. In two to

three years, my prediction is that these percentages will be

reversed,” Robbertsen says.

01-2021 | 15

The more challenging the better

What characterizes Business in Wind in particular, according to

Robbertsen, is carrying out complex assignments. Even

assignments that others don’t dare to undertake such as the

removal of a burnt down turbine in Germany. “That’s a whole

different ball game. We are there when things get complicated!”

His experience in complex projects predates Business in Wind.

In 2012, for example, he helped to install two wind turbines in

Alaska for EWT to provide electricity for a small town of 3,200

inhabitants. The temperatures varied between minus 35 degrees

during the day and minus 50 degrees at night. This called for a

‘What we often come up

against is that wind turbines

have been installed

somewhere and were then

built around over the years’

creative approach to transportation and installation. Everything

had to be brought in by ship and then transported another eight

kilometres over the frozen tundra floor to its final destination.

Because of the frozen soil, the foundation had to be placed on

top of it. An insulating layer had to ensure that the immediate

surface did not thaw during the summer months with 24/7

daylight. The rotor blades were painted black so they would

warm up quickly and allow the ice to melt off.

More recently, they received an application to dismantle wind

turbines on the island of Ascension and install new wind

turbines at St Helena, both in the middle of the South Atlantic.

Or, closer to home, the installation of a wind turbine for a

customer in South England where the access road is narrower

than the generator.

These are projects that suit us, says Robbertsen enthusiastically.

The road was 3.60 meters wide but the generator 5.70 meters.

Together with Vlastuin, with whom he has been working for

years, a frame was developed that allowed the generator to be

transported vertically instead of horizontally. With the same

partner, Business in Wind also developed a frame in 2020 that

allowed the same vehicle to transport two, in this case Vestas

V80, rotor blades at the same time instead of one which is

common practise. This allows for significant cost savings on

international transports.

Like offshore, rotor blades for onshore wind turbines are also

getting longer. This makes land transport increasingly difficult.

Robbertsen: “Currently, the longest rotor blade is about 107

meters. In the Netherlands, according to the requirements of

the Department of Waterways and Public Works, you cannot

extend more than five meters behind your last axle for

transport. This is technically not possible with this blade length.

What you see happening now is that the blades are crossing

fifteen meters and so far there is a policy of tolerance for this.”

There are talks with the National Highway Administration,

transport companies and turbine manufacturers to discuss this

and see what should and should not be allowed. LM

Windpower, part of GE, meanwhile, has come up with blades

that can be transported in sections.

Installation and decommissioning challenges

“What we often come up against is that wind turbines have

been installed somewhere and were then built around over the

years,” Robbertsen says. A good example is the wind farm near

the Hartelkanaal that was dismantled earlier this year. After

construction, a motorway was widened alongside. this made it

impossible to dismantle the turbines via land without

temporarily closing the busy road. “They then come to me!”

Robbertsen laughs, “Now it has been done via the water.”

He also cites the example of a wind turbine in Belgium where a

large shed had been built next to it. “There was serious

consideration to remove part of the building. I came up with a

different solution. Those are the distinctive things we don’t run

away from.”

Business in Wind is largely concerned with the removal of old,

relatively small wind turbines and as such has not yet had any

problems with crane availability and capacity. Things are

different when it comes to installing the ever larger and higher

wind turbines on land, Robbertsen says. The supply of cranes

for these wind turbines is small and they are both large and

heavy. “You’re talking about 1,500 tons on a small piece of

land. The Dutch soil can no longer cope with that. Then you

have to start piling, which is expensive and you also need a lot

of space. In Finland, for example, we had to remove 200 metres

of forest to be able to erect the installation crane.”

For a large crane, you easily need more than fifty trucks to

bring the crane parts to the installation site. “You then spend a

week building up a crane, then two to three days on lifting and

installation, and then another week dismantling,” Robbertsen

says. He thinks that with the higher onshore turbines, a

climbing crane will eventually play a major role (see BOX).

Offshore decommissioning & recycling

Although Business in Wind’s assignments are mainly onshore,

the company is also preparing for the decommissioning of wind

turbines at sea. For example, it is working with a number of

other Dutch parties on a solution to completely remove

monopiles from the seabed. Work on the project has been

underway for four years and the partners hope to begin testing

next year.

Business in Wind is also looking at how to deal with composite.

The company has been discussing this with other market

participants and is contributing to a report on the subject. It is

even looking at the possibility of separating materials for

recycling entirely at sea, via a so-called floating, recycling street.

Robbertsen does not want to say much more about this at the

moment. To be continued. •

16 | 01-2021

Hartelkanaal decommissioning project © Business in Wind.

Photo by van Kip naar Ei

02-2020 01-2021 | 17

Transport & Installation





In 2017, Lagerwey, now part of Enercon, developed the

world’s first autonomous climbing crane for the

construction of wind turbines. The first model of the

climbing crane, the LCC60, was able to lift 60 tons. Over

time, the crane design has been further developed to the

LCC140 in order to be able to lift the increasingly higher

wind turbines.

The LCC140 has a mast of 33 meters, a boom of 46 meters

and a maximum lifting weight of 140 tons. Due to its limited

size and relatively low weight of 270 tons, the crane already

offers a first major advantage: only eleven trucks are needed to

bring the crane to site.

Moreover, it takes only one to one and a half days to construct

the crane. The first three tower sections are erected by a small

crane. These parts are then used by the climbing crane to climb

up. This is done by skids that are attached to the crane and use

crane points on the tower sections. Four stabilizing arms that

clamp halfway around the mast distribute the load on the tower.

This connection of the climbing crane to the tower reduces the

risk of instability during hoisting. Via the so-called Blade Beam,

a rotor blade can also be lifted on two cables, without the need

for control lines. This increases the weather window because it

is possible to lift at higher wind speeds. Lifting a load takes

about twenty minutes. All this results in a large time gain. In a

positive scenario, one wind turbine can be installed per week.

Because the crane is erected vertically, the required size of the

permanent crane stand is relatively small. Depending on the

local situation, this is 500m². This makes the crane suitable for

places where a conventional crane cannot normally be used.

In 2020, two examples of the LCC140 were tested and certified

on the HEBO Maritiemservice site in Zwartsluis.

At this moment there are two cranes available. Eemshaven Zuid

Oost is the first wind farm where the LCC140 has been used.

Here the crane installed three Enercon E-136 EP5 wind

turbines with 132 meters hub height and consisting of 11 tower

sections of 12 meters each.•

18 | 01-2021

Enercon Climbing Crane in Eemshaven © Enercon GmbH

Mischa Brendel

Transport & Installation

Barneveldse Kraanverhuur

Adopting to increasingly

larger wind turbines

and wind farms

In 1969 Chris Deij built his very own crane: for assignments that he received for

his forge, he needed to perform some lifting work on a regular basis. His crane

made an impression, and it wasn’t long before he got hired to do lifting work on a

regular basis. The foundations for his company were laid and in the eighties the

family business changed its name to Barneveldse Kraanverhuur (BKV),

specializing in crane rental.

Now, 42 years later, the company rents out

its cranes not only in the Netherlands, but

across Europe. Although wind turbines

only partly make up BKV’s portfolio, the

Barneveld company has got quite some

experience in building, dismantling and

maintaining wind turbines.

Four brothers

Daan Deij is director of BKV; he runs the

family business with his three brothers.

“There are about two hundred crane

companies in the Netherlands, but there

are very few with a range from a 40 tons

telescopic crane to a 750 tons crawler

crane.” The crawler crane Deij refers to, is

the Liebherr LR 1700, the latest addition

to BKV’s fleet of approximately thirty

cranes (see box).

The recently purchased crane is typically

one that, BKV expects, will be widely used

in the construction of wind turbines. Deij:

“It is the sixth of its kind being built; we

expect to receive it next February. The new

crane has a boom length of 165 meters and

a jib of 12 meters and can lift up to 104

tons.” This shows the clever design of the

LR 1700: although it is just as compact as

its older brother LR 1600, that one can

only lift to 70 metric tons.

This compactness is a necessity: wind

turbines are becoming larger and larger

and therefore require cranes that are higher

and higher in order to being able to build

them. Those cranes also have to be built up

on location, but according to Deij, farmers

‘I think we will

see onshore

wind turbines over

200 meters

in height before

the year 2030’

are prepared to give up less and less land to

use for the building up. “The stamp is

getting smaller and smaller, but cranes and

wind turbines are getting increasingly


However, even with these challenges it is

still possible to perform the work properly,

Deij says: “Often, project developers

involve us very early on in the project. They

ask us how much space we need to erect

our cranes, and what the load-bearing

capacity of the ground should be, things

like that. In this way, we get by just fine.”

Higher and higher

Wind turbines sizes are increasing and,

according to Deij, the end is nowhere near

in sight yet. “Onshore wind farms are

becoming larger and larger. A few years

ago, the altitude was still around 130, 135

meters; now it is already 155 meters and

there are plans to build wind turbines with

heights up to 165 meters on land. And

developments are already underway to

create 185-meter-high turbines. I think we

will see onshore wind turbines over 200

meters in height before the year 2030.”

Ever larger wind turbines also mean

increasingly larger cranes to be able to

build those turbines. Aren’t we going to

run into a wall? Deij doesn’t expect this to

happen any time soon: “The wind turbine

builders are in close collaboration with the

crane factories. After all, you don’t want to

design a turbine that no one is able to


01-2021 | 19

What about Lagerwey’s climbing crane?

That crane climbs into the wind turbine

tower and as such doesn’t need to increase

in size when constructing larger wind

turbines. It also needs less space for

building up on location. Does BKV see

anything in the use of this type of crane?

Deij: “That crane does an excellent job,

but it is only suitable for one type of tower.

There is also only one brand, Enercon, that

uses this crane and that is not surprising,

considering Lagerwey is part of Enercon.”

More than installation

Wind turbines might be getting higher, but

BKV’s cranes are not exclusively used for

the construction of new wind farms. And

even in the wind energy sector itself,

construction only makes up part of the

activities: maintenance and dismantling

also make up an important part of BKV’s

Tower installation at Prinses Ariane Wind Farm.

All photos © BKV

Tower installation at Prinses Ariane Wind Farm.

All photos © BKV

20 | 01-2021

order book. “Maintenance comes in as

soon as a wind farm has been built. As for

dismantling of wind farms, that usually

starts at an average age of ten years and

above,” says Deij. “Usually, we use slightly

smaller cranes for the dismantling, because

at the time these wind farms were built, the

wind turbines were smaller.”

When building new wind turbines, the

challenge lies in the height, with

dismantling it lies in the documentation,

says Deij. “You have to get your hands on

the old documentation, to know what all

the parts weigh and in order to get the

right lifting tools which were also used

when those wind farms were built.”

Not a single assignment is the same as any

other one, but some really stand out from

the rest. One such project is the

dismantling of five wind turbines from the

Hartelkanaal wind farm in Rotterdam.

Since 2003, these turbines have been

located along the A15, on the edge of the

Hartel Channel. These wind turbines

weren’t dismantled on land, but on the

water; it was a nearshore project. An LR

1600 from BKV, together with a 100 tons

crawler crane from HEBO

Maritiemservice, a company with which

BKV worked together on this job, stood on

a pontoon which was a 100 meters long

and 33 meters wide. Deij: “Such a project

with nearshore turbines is a special kind of

assignment; it’s a bit in between onshore

and offshore dismantling. When doing

lifting work on a pontoon, the stability of a

crane is completely different, and you have

to think carefully about how to distribute

the counterweight to keep the pontoons

steady during the works.“


BKV also does a lot of assignments abroad.

Deij: “Not too many years ago we operated

approximately eighty percent abroad and

twenty percent in the Netherlands; today it

is the other way around. The construction

of wind turbines is finally catching up here

and we expect this to go on in the next few


Recently, BKV completed a project in

Ireland for the Derrynadivva wind farm.

The project was special in several respects.

For example, the BKV employees had to

obtain a special diploma just to be allowed

to work in Ireland. This also typifies the

Hartelkanaal decommissioning project

work abroad, Deij says. “Regulations differ

completely between all countries: the

number of working hours, the required

permits, when you are allowed to drive on

which roads… Nowhere it’s the same.

The Netherlands is quite a liberal country

when it comes to exemptions to

transporting cranes. In Belgium and

France, you are not allowed on the

highway; in Germany you are, but only at

Liebherr crawler crane LR 1700, technical data

Max. load capacity:

At radius:

Main boom, lightweight/heavyweight from:

Main boom, lightweight/heavyweight up to:

Max. load torque:

Lattice jib from:

Lattice jib up to:

Derrick boom from:

Derrick boom:

Central ballast

Counterweight at superstructure:

Derrick ballast:

Engine power:

Driving speed:

night.” That is why it is very important to

be well-informed about the regulations in

the countries in which you operate, which

BKV makes sure it is.

And what is it that makes BKV unique?

“All are employees are very well attuned to

one another,” Deij says. “This is what

makes us special: we work closely together.

Actions instead of words, that is our

corporate culture.”•

700 t

8.50 m

30 m

165 m

9,650 tm

12.00 m

96.00 m

36.0 m

42.0 m

90 t

230 t

375 t

400 kW

1.20 km/h

01-2021 | 21

Transport & Installation

Arie-Jan van Renswoude, Geotechnical engineer, Windbase

Supporting increasingly larger and heavier cranes

Advanced simulations for

crane hardstands

One of the developments in wind turbines is the constant increase in height. This

particular development presents us with a technical challenge: to build these

turbines, larger and heavier cranes are required. The Dutch soil, however,

remains as weak as ever.


ecause of the weak soil, a solid

design of the crane hardstands is

of utmost importance. The

crane must stand stable and

should not settle or rotate too much. After

all, a small rotation will result in a relatively

large displacement at the top.

Unfortunately, it still frequently happens

that hardstands are not stable enough or

that they deform too much. As a result,

projects are delayed, resulting in financial

setbacks that can quickly mount up to tons.

This again emphasises the importance of a

sound hardstand.

Challenges in the design of

crane hardstands

Windbase has long been involved in the

design, consultancy and realisation of crane

hardstands and turbine foundations, and

has also been involved in the development

of the STOWA guideline for the design of

crane hardstands. This guideline brings

together the different worlds within the

wind energy sector; from crane suppliers

and geotechnicians to wind turbine

manufacturers and project developers. The

aforementioned trend has therefore not

gone unnoticed within Windbase.

Windbase’s expertise is also regularly called

in when a hardstand turns out to be

insufficiently stable or shows too much

deformations. A quick and robust solution

is then required to limit the damage

incurred, often in the form of applying a

larger mat area under the crane, which

increases the load capacity and reduces the

deformations. Such a mat area is made of

long steel mats which are believed to

distribute the crane’s load over a larger

surface area. But to what extent is the load

from the crane distributed by the mats?

And will the full length of the mats or the

edges of a larger area of mats transfer the

load to the ground? Furthermore, in the

design of crane stands, the question has

always been whether determining the

deformations with calculation sheets gives

a realistic outcome, given the character and

duration of the loads. Isn’t there a method

to better deal with this?

Advanced simulations for


A real-life situation where the

aforementioned problems arose was

analysed by Windbase by making a

PLAXIS 3D model. In this situation, one

layer of steel mats was placed under a

crawler crane. In this model, the steel mats

- with a length of 18 m - were modelled as

separate volume elements, with stiffnesses

in accordance with the supplier’s data.

Subsequently, the load from the crawlers

was modelled on the mats. The mats in the

model could move separately from each

other and were mobilised based on the load

and the ratio of their own (bending)

stiffness to that of the hardstand and

further subsoil. After that, a second model

was made where the 18 m mats were

applied in two layers in order to obtain a

better distribution of the loads (see Figure

3). Hereafter, the first model is called

‘model A’ and the second model is called

‘model B’. As far as the governing situation

is concerned, the raising of the crane’s

boom was taken. Usually, the hardstand is

tested by keeping the boom raised for

fifteen minutes, while measuring the

deformation of the crane. When the crane

remains stable, the construction of the

turbine can begin. The phases prior to

raising the boom are omitted here.

The model showed that the mats are

sufficiently stiff to spread the load over the

entire length of a mat; of course, the centre

of the mat area will transfer most of the

load. Under the governing situation it

appears that the load in model A is

concentrated on a small number of mats

(see Figure 1), after which large

deformations and failure occur. In model B

- because of the 2nd layer of mats - a

considerably larger number of mats is

mobilised, so that the deformations remain

smaller and a higher factor of safety is

reached (see Figure 2). In principle, these

results do not differ from the expectations.

In fact, they correspond well with

experiences from outside with regard to,

among other things, the total and

differential settlements between loaded and

unloaded mats.

Thus the analyses performed, fairly

accurately reflect what happens during the

operational phase of the hardstands. This

makes it possible to calculate the loadbearing

capacity and deformations of crane

hardstands to a high degree of accuracy,

also with regard to the duration of the

loads. It remains to be seen if this is

possible with the common, traditional

calculation tools.

22 | 01-2021

Conclusion and future

Within the wind energy sector, there are

many developments. The efficiency and

height of the turbines and the size of the

cranes are increasing rapidly. It is time to

pursue this development trend within the

design of crane hardstands, by means of

advanced simulation.

1. Concentration of the load on several mats, visible in the deformation.

Moreover, this method of calculation

provides insight into failure mechanisms,

the efficiency of mat configurations, and

provides input for monitoring plans. It

also offers opportunities in the area of

integral consultancy services for, and

interaction between, the hardstands and

turbine foundations, as well as for

minimising delays and financial setbacks.

As far as Windbase is concerned, there is a

bright future for the application of

advanced simulations within the world of

crane hardstands for wind energy projects.

2. Redistribution of the load over a large number of mats by applying a second layer.

By mobilising a larger quantity of steel mats, a higher safety factor is achieved and

fewer deformations occur.

In order to offer clients even more

security and better services, the Dutch

engineering consultancy ABT since

2019 has transferred all its activities in

the area of wind turbine projects to a

separate subsidiary: Windbase.

Windbase provides, among other

things, optimised and high-quality

foundation designs for wind turbines,

crane hardstands and designs for

other civil infrastructure. Through its

state-of-the-art design methods,

Windbase reduces the CO2 footprint of

wind projects and contributes to

making wind energy cheaper. The

company distinguishes itself through

its innovative solutions and progressive


In addition to a large number of small

and medium-sized wind farms,

Windbase is also involved in large

Dutch wind farms such as Drentse

Monden en Oostermoer, N33 and wind

farms in the Flevopolder (Zeewolde,


3. Redistribution of the load from the crane via steel mats.

01-2021 | 23

General news

CORROSION and Amphibious

Energy launch eco-friendly ICCP-

POD solution

Dutch companies CORROSION and Amphibious

Energy have joined forces to launch the ICCP-

POD, an environmentally friendly alternative to

using diesel generators to supply energy during

the construction phase of wind turbines, and sacrificial

anodes to protect turbine foundations

against corrosion.

The ICCP-POD combines two advanced technologies.

The EnergyPod, developed by Amphibious

Energy, a Dutch specialist in designing offshore,

autonomous and 100% renewable energy power

generators, is an easy-to-transport autonomous

energy plant that uses sun, wind, batteries and intelligent

electronics to provide sustainable energy

during the 18-month construction of wind turbines,

meaning that costly and environmentally unfriendly

diesel generators are no longer required.

To protect against corrosion during this construction

phrase, Dutch anti-corrosion and anti-fouling

specialist CORROSION developed compact ICCP

(Impressed Current Cathodic Protection) units.

KenzFigee opens new office in Scotland

KenzFigee, a lifting, handling and service

specialist of tailor-made equipment for the

marine, offshore and wind energy industry,

is opening a new UK office, workshop and

storage facility at Brechin (Angus), 35

miles south of Aberdeen, in Scotland.

The new site at Brechin Business Park will

have a workshop of 650sqm (9m eaves

height, 6.5m crane hook, 5te gantry crane)

and 2000sqm yard space. KenzFigee UK

will also have support from the Hydrus

Group with access to an additional

2000sqm workshop space with 15te and

50te gantry cranes if required.

The site has been chosen to allow

KenzFigee UK to accommodate the

company’s rapidly expanding workforce

and facilitate an increase in demand for its

© KenzFigee

engineering expertise in the global offshore

oil & gas, defence and renewables markets.

The new offices will house multiple project

teams within the KenzFigee UK

organisation including an innovative

engineering department and versatile multi

skilled service workforce.

Huisman receives crane orders from DEME



By using an electronic current supplied by the

EnergyPod, these represent an innovative

eco-friendly alternative to sacrificial anodes,

which discharge large quantities of metals and

heavy metals into the water. When the wind turbines

are installed and grid-connected, the energy

supply for the ICCP system is switched from the

EnergyPod to the wind turbine itself.

Dutch heavy construction equipment

specialist Huisman has been awarded two

contracts from Belgian contractor DEME

Offshore this summer. The company will

deliver a 1,600mt Leg Encircling Crane

(LEC). The crane will be used on DEME’s

jack-up vessel Sea Installer to increase its

lifting capacity. It replaces the Sea

Installer’s current 900mt crane. The

vessel’s lifting capacity will be increased by

700mt, yet with a limited weight impact on

the vessel.

The LEC for the Sea Installer has a 140m

long boom, capable of reaching close to

160 metres above main deck, making it

suitable for the construction of tomorrow’s

offshore wind farms. The upgraded Sea

Installer will be deployed for the first time

at the 800 MW Vineyard Wind 1 project in

the US.

Huisman also won a contract from DEME

for the delivery of a 2,300mt Lifting

Spreader and a set of adaptive Damping

Tugger Winches. The tools will be installed

onboard the installation vessel Orion. The

Lifting Spreader is designed for the

installation of next generation monopiles.


The ICCP-POD delivers substantial cost savings

compared to a diesel generator. In addition, further

savings can be realized in other ways. For

instance, by installing uncoated foundations,

foundations with a single base coat or utilizing

less carbon steel (corrosion allowance), depending

on customer needs and design boundaries.

Eco-friendly solution

In terms of environmental performance,

CORROSION’s ICCP unit provides major benefits.

Over a 25-year period, CORROSION’s

systems discharge approximately 1.5 million

times less aluminum into the sea that traditional

sacrificial anodes. Furthermore, the EnergyPod

is also completely recyclable and can be re-used

several times over a period of 5 to 10 years, so

that the costs will decrease even further.

© Huisman

24 | 01-2021



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Wind Farm News




In August, Dutch foundation

specialist Gebr. Van ‘t Hek.

started the installation works

on the foundations for the

Strekdammen Wind Farm, located

at the breakwaters in

Eemshaven, Groningen.

The wind farm will feature two

5.5 MW Cypress wind turbines

from GE Renewable Energy

(GE). GE will start with the installation

of the two turbines in

2022. The civil works and electrical

infrastructure is being

carried out by contractors

VolkerWind and Alsema.

The wind turbines are expected

to become operational in

mid-2022. The wind farm is a

project of Pondera and Rebel.


Nij Hiddum-Houw

In August, foundation installation

works started at the 42

MW Nij Hiddum-Houw Wind

Farm in the province of

Friesland. The work is performed

by the contractor combination

Jansma Drachten B.V. –

M. Westra B.V. and is expected

to last until the end of


It concerns a repowering project

whereby sixteen Vestas

wind turbines with a total installed

capacity of approximately

5 MW will be replaced by

nine Enercon E136 EP5 wind

turbines, each with a capacity

of 4.65 MW. The first electricity

is expected in the second

half of 2022.

The initiators of the wind farm

are Vattenfall and Gooyum-

Houw BV, a partnership of 45

Den Tol

Wind turbine construction has

started at the approximately

33 MW Den Tol Wind Farm, located

in the rural area of

Netterden in the municipality

of Oude IJsselstreek. Nine

Nordex N117 wind turbines,

each with a tip height of 189

meters and a capacity of 3.6

MW, are being installed here.

Windpark Den Tol is an initiative

of a number of farming families.

The wind farm was deindividuals

and companies

from the area. Vattenvall owns

four wind turbines and

Gooyum-Houw owns the remaining

five wind turbines.

. 3

De Drentse Monden en


At the end of July, all wind turbines

at the 175.5 MW De

Drentse Monden en

Oostermoer Wind Farm in the

province of Drenthe were

standing tall. Spread over an

area of 50 km2, a total of 45

wind turbines were installed in

six line arrangements.

Nordex provided its type

N131/3900 wind turbine with

145 meter hub height, 131 meter

rotor diameter and 3.9 MW

capacity. The German turbine

supplier is currently performing

tests before the turbines

can be handed over to the


The wind farm is an initiative

of three parties: Duurzame

Energieproductie Exloërmond

B.V., Pure Energie and

Windpark Oostermoer

Exploitatie B.V..



In late August, Dura Vermeer

started with the concrete

works for the foundations at

SwifterwinT on Land, the

onshore part of


Windplanblauw is a joint project

of Vattenfall and

SwifterwinT, a collaboration of

more than 170 agricultural entrepreneurs

and residents of

the municipality of Dronten, in

the northwest corner of

Flevoland. The plan comprises

thirty-seven wind turbines on

land and twenty-four wind turbines

in the waters of the

IJsselmeer. The latter will be

built by Vattenfall.

SwifterwinT op Land already

reached financial close at the

end of December 2020. The

wind farm will feature thirty-seven

Vestas wind turbines,

type V162-5.6 MW. They replace

forty-six old turbines.

Due to the proximity of

Lelystad Airport, wind turbines

with different hub heights are




See p. 6



Turbine installation has started

at the 17 MW Koningspleij

Wind Farm, in the municipality

of Arnhem. Four wind turbines

are being built in a lineup along

the Pleijroute (N325).

They are supplied by German

turbine manufacturer Enercon

and are of the type E-115 EP3

with a 177.5 meter tip height

and 115.7 meter rotor


Koningspleij Wind Farm is an

initiative of Rijn en IJssel

Energiecoöperatie, Prowind

and Pure Energie. Three of the

four wind turbines are a citizens’

initiative. The fourth

wind turbine is being developed

by Pure Energie.

The wind farm is planned to

be completed by the end of

this year and to generate

around 34.5 million kWh per



veloped with the support of

Windunie Development. In

January this year, financial

close was reached after which

the construction work could

start. The first pile was driven

in mid-April. Green Trust

Consultancy is responsible for

the construction


The wind farm is scheduled to

deliver its first electricity in

the spring of 2022. The nine

turbines together will produce

over 80,000 MWh of electricity



De Rietvelden

De Rietvelden Wind Farm on

and near De Rietvelden

Industrial estate in ‘s

Hertogenbosch was completed

in July.

The wind farm features four

Nordex N117/3600 wind turbines

with a 119 meter hub

height, a 117 meter rotor diameter,

and a tip height of 177.5

meters. Together they are expected

to generate around

38.6 million kilowatt hours per


De Rietvelden Wind Farm is an

initiative of Heineken

Brouwerij ‘s Hertogenbosch,

container terminal BCTN, contractor

Barten, the Pennings

family, Pure Energie and cooperative

Bossche Windmolen

West. The latter, with over 540

members, is owner of one of

the four wind turbines.

Pure Energie has been involved

from the start in the role

of developer and energy


Heineken will purchase the

electricity produced by three

of the four wind turbines.




In the first half of

August, the last


26 | 01-2021

wind turbine

was installed at

the Noord-

Beveland onshore

wind farm, located

in the

Jacoba-Rippolder on Noord-

Beveland. The wind farm comprises

four Nordex N117 wind

turbines, each with a rotor

blade of 58.5 metres, a hub

height of 91 meters, and a capacity

of 3.6 MW. They replace

five older Nordex N90 wind

turbines in the area. Parts of

the old wind farm are being


The project is an initiative of

Windpark Noord-Beveland BV

and is managed by Green

Trust, together with

Windkracht Beheer en

Inspecties B.V. VolkerWind was

commissioned to realise the

Balance of Plant for the four

new turbines. 5










Read the full news on


(EN) or



01-2021 | 27

Transport & Installation

Jan-Mark Meeuwisse

Q/A with Jan-Mark Meeuwisse, Commercial Director GustoMSC

A look at future offshore

wind turbine installation

In 2002, the first GustoMSC designed jack-up barge, ‘Buzzard’, worked on the

construction of Horns Rev1, Denmark’s first large offshore wind farm. Since

then, over thirty GustoMSC designed Jack-ups (barges and vessels) have been

operating in the offshore wind installation and maintenance.

How many GustoMSC designs have been

developed over time?

“Since 2007 over seven dedicated WTI-JU (Wind Turbine

Installation Jack-Up) designs have been designed and are

operational. These last four years we have developed 4 new future

proof WTI-JU designs. All of them are under construction at

shipyards in the US, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and China

and each design has its owner specific requirements incorporated.”

What design has been the most challenging

and why?

“For me personally that will be the first NG-9000C designs, being

the Sea Installer and Sea Challenger for A2SEA and the Brave and

Bold Tern for Fred. Olsen Windcarrier. These where the first

dedicated new generation WTI-JUs and in time the most copied

designs. Here we enabled the installation market to install faster,

carry more than 8 WTG (Wind Turbine Generator) sets with full

length towers, integrated leg encircling cranes and operate in a

deep water range of 45 to 50 meters. The market required

dedicated installation vessels for faster, safer installations and these

NG-9000C’s installed most of the WTG’s to date.”

What have been the main developments in

design since the first vessel?

“There have been many developments in the design, for example,

when it comes to the operational window, like significant wave

height (Hs) ability, crane capacity, payload, deck area, number of

components in one go, installation speed and safety. In particular

in the jacking system, in combination with the design of the hull,

leg, leg guides and footing.

Our success is that we supply the design and jacking system as an

integrated solution, therefore reducing the risk of the shipyard and

eventually the owner. These jack-ups are supported on four hard

points (legs). The complete hull needs to be lifted daily, meaning

the number of jacking moves are far more compared to the jackups

used in the Oil&Gas sector. We have managed to achieve high

jacking cycles and less wear & tear on the legs and system,

reducing OPEX during the life time of the WTI-JU. There is no

other supplier in the market that provides an optimized design and

system fully integrated.“

“We are able to integrate all these disciplines like the jacking

system, legs, crane, and more, in one design without

compromising on the safety, capacity, operability and strength.”

Over time, what have been the main changes

in requirements for vessels?

“The main challenges have been in crane capacity and outreach,

hoisting height and carrying capacity, resulting in larger and wider

vessels. And installing WTG’s and foundations in deep waters. All

due to the growing WTG sizes.”

Can conventional installation vessels still

install the future turbines or do you expect

completely different concepts?

“Over time we have been able to upgrade the NG-9000C with

minimal investments for the owner. Designed in 2008 for installing

3.6 to 5 MW WTG’s, we have been able to upgrade the designs to

install the 8 and 9.5 MW WTG’s. These owners recently

announced major upgrades. We already executed serious

engineering work to upgrade these NG-9000C’s, enabling to carry

1,600 ton cranes with longer booms.”

“Larger cranes are heavier and weight on a jack-up is a major

issue, therefore upgrades of the jacking system will be required

and one should accept the reduction of carrying capacity. New

innovations in these upgrades is mainly the Operating Support

System (our OSS - a Smart App) in order to maintain and control

safety of the overall Jack-up.”

Can existing vessels still be upgraded/refitted

to future standards?

“Only a few WTI-JUs can be upgraded. There is a limit to

upgrades and payload capacity will eventually be insufficient to

carry sufficient WTG sets. In addition some of these jack-ups are

restricted in water depths. Therefore the ‘shelf-life’ will be limited

and these jack-ups will end up executing maintenance work.”

28 | 01-2021

GustoMSC NG-20000XL for Cadeler

Do you have any ideas on what type of

alternative concepts will enter the market for

future offshore turbine installation?

“We see jack-ups to continue to install WTG’s. They are increasing

in size and crane capacity (Dominion NG-16000X, Eneti NG-

16000X and Cadeler NG-20000X), enabling again to install

monopile and jacket foundations even more accurate and with

lesser emissions than Heavy Lift Crane vessels.”

“We see many new challenges and we are entering in a new era.

What we will be doing hasn’t been done in any other industry;

installing heavy, delicate components on very high heights and in

an offshore environment. Imagine a hoisting height of over 160m

above sea level. That’s challenging and makes this market exiting.”

Are you already working on a new concept?

“Yes, we are the market leader and want to maintain this position.”

Do you see a growing demand (or legal

requirement) for incorporation of

sustainability in the designs?

“Yes, in our designs we are able in incorporate these, like

alternative fuels and power regenerative solutions in order to

reduce the overall emissions. In addition we have been optimizing

the hull resistance, the power train and do things smarter. The

challenge is actually with the owner and shipyard how far they

want to go. It will take time to develop new power sources. The

engine suppliers, for example, are working hard on alternatives.”

What design are you personally most proud


“Actually there are more; the earlier mentioned NG-9000C’s, the

Seajack Scylla - our NG-14000X – ahead of its time, the Japanese

Shimizu NG-14000XL with the first Telescopic crane and the US

Jones Act compliant Dominion Energy NG-16000X-SJ. All of

them has and will contribute to install faster and safer.”

What other engineering solutions/equipment

does GustoMSC offer the wind industry?

“We continue to provide cost effective integrated installation and

maintenance solutions to the wind market. Naturally we want to

keep our market leading position for installation jack-ups and

expand our installation and maintenance product portfolio,

through ‘Purposeful Innovation’. Since 2018 we are part of the

NOV group and with their support we will be able to expand our


01-2021 | 29

Transport & Installation

Sabine Lankhorst

Interview with Ben Arntz, GBM Works

Eco-friendly and

fast pile driving

In September, Dutch startup GBM Works (GBM), in collaboration with the

Belgian company DEME Offshore, began testing their new vibrojet technology

which should significantly reduce the noise released during the piling of

monopiles for offshore wind turbines.

The interview with Ben Arntz, founder of

GBM, takes place earlier. At that time the

company is still busy preparing for the test

that will take place at DEME Offshore in

the port of Antwerp.

Arntz first explains how they got that far.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in

mechanical engineering from Delft

University of Technology (TU Delft), Arntz

worked for a short period for Dutch

offshore company Heerema. The

company’s practical approach appealed to

him. Here, he encountered the problem

Heerema had with noise at sea, caused by

piling activities. When constructing

pipelines in Australia, the company was not

allowed to pile during the whale breeding

season. That left a gap in the planning.

What if there was a solution to combat the

noise, he wondered at the time.

After Heerema, Arntz began a master’s

degree in Offshore Engineering.

Meanwhile, there was a growing demand in

the market for more environmentally

friendly and cheaper solutions for pile

driving. Piles were still mostly installed

with conventional pile drivers or hydro

hammers, in combination with bubble

curtains to reduce the environmental

impact. Halfway through the first year, he

decided to do something with it this time.

He came up with an innovative solution

and got permission to graduate on this

subject. He asked a student friend to

develop the technology together.

The technology consisted of elements

mounted at the base of a pile that, through

vibration, fluidized the soil and pushed it

away, resulting in less soil resistance. Water

was chosen to drive the elements, being

least harmful to the environment and

available in natural abundance offshore. By

injecting the water at the tip of the pile,

only one tube was needed. The

combination with a vibrating hammer then

ensured that the pile was penetrated into

the ground.

Tests at Maasvlakte 2

In December 2016, GBM Works was

officially established. A first prototype was

tested at Maasvlakte 2 in the summer of

2017. This was made possible with funding

from NOW and Delft Enterprises (TU

Delft’s investment vehicle for early-stage

technologies) and from participation in the

Climate Kick, an incubator for startups

that work on solutions to improve the

environment and reduce CO2. The

prototype was built in cooperation with a

supplier of small pile drivers. A five-meter

pile was driven into the sandy soil. The test

was successful in the sense that they got

the pile into the ground. Arntz then

graduated on modulating how that pile was

brought down.

The next step was to scale up. The

subsequently scaled-up version of the first

prototype in 2018, however, turned out not

to fully meet expectations. Arntz: “The

technology was not really scalable,

especially not for this sand density, and not

economically feasible. So that was a bit of a


The realization that there was still a great

demand for silent piling methods made

him decide to continue. His friend took a

different path and Govert Meijer, already

active as a coach at the time, became his

new partner. Arntz: “At the beginning of

2019 we started to rethink how to

‘We learned that the offshore market is

conservative and that we should not do too

many innovations at once’

approach it technically. We also

immediately started talking to the entire

potential market, not just the offshore

market but also the nearshore market such

as port construction contractors.”

30 | 01-2021

Keep it simple

“We have a certain ‘dream machine’ that

we want to realise in a few years. We

learned, however, that the offshore market

is conservative and that we should not do

too many innovations at once. We first set a

few intermediate steps that are also already

commercially applicable,” Arntz continues.

This has also been validated in many

discussions with contractors who could be

the potential buyers.

Despite the fact that the second prototype

failed, it did provide the indication of what

could work. Arntz explains: “What we saw

is that the water was a much bigger

contributor to lowering the prototype than

the vibrating elements. So we decided to

make the technique more simple.”

In further developing the technique, a

number of things had to be carefully

considered. For example, only the soil that

did not contribute to the bearing capacity

of the pile should be removed. Arntz:

“Specifically for wind turbines, you mainly

have a back and forth load. Especially on

the outside of the pile, where waves, wind

and currents have impact.”

SIMPLE 2 – Vibrojet

Working with a vibrating hammer on top of

the pile removes the friction on the outside

while a water injection system (jet gun)

removes the friction on the inside. “You

should think of the jet gun as a rotating

arm connected with rotating jets. The

double rotation causes all the soil it

encounters to grind up, thus reducing

resistance. This allows the pile to penetrate

into the soil faster.” The two technologies

are not new, the combination of them on a

large scale, however, is. This had to be

properly researched and tested.

In September 2020, GBM successfully

conducted a test at Maasvlakte 2 with the

new water injection technique with

vibration at the top, the vibrojet. The test

was performed in cooperation with

Deltares. The project was renamed

01-2021 | 31

SIMPLE (Silent Installation of Monopiles)

and this test was SIMPLE 1.

One contractor, DEME Offshore, has since

financed GBM and is now a project

partner, later joined by Machinefabriek

Barth and Deltares. In addition, GBM has

also received a subsidy from the

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and

patents have been obtained on the

technique. The company is also

participating in the SIMOX (Sustainable

Installation of XXL Monopiles) project,

which was set up by the offshore research

project GROW with the aim of making

innovative technologies for the installation

of large wind turbines commercially

available within five years.

Offshore trial with DEME


GBM is currently working on SIMPLE 2,

which includes the trial in September at

DEME Offshore in the inner harbour of

Antwerp, around hundred meters from the

quay. Here, using GBM’s system, a thirty

five-meter-long pile with a diameter of two

meters will be placed at a depth of about

twenty six meters. This is already close to

the thirty to forty meter depth usual for

wind turbines on monopile foundations.

The driving and retrieving of the pile will

be repeated about fourteen times. The

entire test will last between two and three


The pile is placed on the seafloor from a

pontoon in a gripper frame. A vibro

hammer with the jet gun machine is placed

on top of the pile. The jet gun is then

lowered into the pile after which it selflocks

and installation can begin.

“The machine will be able to move itself

inside the pile via a walking mechanism,”

explains Arntz. There are also winches that

can move it. The machine can be operated

remotely. A control container is placed on

the deck of the pontoon for this purpose.

An umbilical cable goes into the pile, down

to the machine.

“The biggest challenge with the project

with DEME is how we jet through the very

thick clay layer,” Arntz says, “The clay is so

thick you can’t even put a dent in it with a

finger.” Until then, GBM had only tested

outside on the sandy floor of Maasvlakte 2.

To ensure that the machine would

penetrate the compact clay layer in

September, GBM took sample blocks of

clay from the installation site. From March

2021 through June, they have been busy

testing the jet principle in their own lab in

Utrecht to determine and further optimize

the correct configuration of flow, pressure

and nozzle. The complete jet device was

built and assembled in August.

Proven technology

Ultimately, the technology must be proven

in three areas: penetration speed and

Advantages vibro jet

1. More environmentally friendly

2. Deeper and faster penetration (up

to 25% time savings, depending

on the project)

3. Less stress on the steel

4. More silent which eliminates the

need for external mitigation

GBM Works’ jet device

depth, load capacity and environmental

impact, in order to establish technical and

economic feasibility. The trial with DEME

Offshore should already prove the

penetration speed and depth. After this

trial, GBM will test the bearing capacity in

the SIMOX project and compare it with

piles installed in the conventional way,

using a hydro hammer. Meanwhile, GBM

is also in talks with DNV for the required

certification of the technology. The goal is

to conduct a first full-scale test at sea in

2023, says Arntz.

When asked whether he could perhaps

already say something more about the

dream machine, he replies: “We are now

working on the combination of vibration

from above and water jetting below in the

pile. That’s step one. This will prove that it

is possible to work with a device at the

bottom of the pile. Eventually, in step 2, we

want to move to a combined vibration and

jet device that can be placed entirely at the

bottom of the pile. Step 3 is to be able to

use the technology for decommissioning,

thus the removal of piles, he explains. But

in fact we are already testing this in

September as well.”

32 | 01-2021





Wind Farm News





At the end of July the construction

of the 383 MW

Fryslân Wind Farm was completed

by Zuiderzeewind, a

consortium of Van Oord

Offshore Wind and Siemens

Gamesa Renewable Energy.

The wind farm is currently the

largest wind farm built in a


The wind farm is a project by

Windpark Fryslân BV. It features

89 Siemens Gamesa wind

turbines, each with a hub

height of 115 meters, a tip

height of 180 meters and an installed

capacity of 4.3 MW.

Due to the width of the locks

around the IJsselmeer lake and

the low water depths, no conventional

turbine installation

vessel could be used. The wind

turbines were installed simultaneously

by the two installation

platforms Sarens Soccer

Pitch and Tom-Wim. The components

were transported via a

feeder system from different


The first turbine already started

feeding power to the grid in

April this year. The power is

collected in the new transformer

station in Breezanddijk.

The wind farm is expected to

produce about 1,500 GWh of

sustainable wind energy per

year. The power is purchased

by Eneco.

Hollandse Kust Noord

Hollandse Kust Noord (HKN)

is a 759 MW offshore wind

project by CrossWind, a

joint-venture between Shell

and Eneco. The wind farm site

is located approximately 18 kilometres

off the Dutch west

coast, near Egmond aan Zee.

Sixty-nine Siemens Gamesa

type SG 11.0-200 DD, 11 MW

wind turbines will be installed

on monopile foundations. The

wind farm is due to become

operational in 2023.

Van Oord was awarded the

Balance of Plant contract. In

July this year, Van Oord selected

Dutch cable manufacturer

Twentsche Kabelfabriek (TKF)

to supply 140 km of 66 kV inter-array


In September, a start was

made on land, on the beaches

of Heemskerk and Wijk aan

Zee, with the construction of a

raised temporary work area.

This temporary elevation is

necessary to drill boreholes

under the dunes. They will

house the casing pipes in

which the export cables will

soon be pulled for the connection

of the HKN wind farm and

also HK (west Alpha).

. 3

Hollandse Kust Zuid

Offshore construction is in full

progress at the 1.5 GW

Hollandse Kust Zuid (HKZ)

Offshore Wind Farm. In July of

this year, the first batch of

foundations left for the construction

site. The foundations

are manufactured by Sif at

Maasvlakte 2. Seaway 7 is responsible

for the transport and

installation of the foundations.

The company is using its installation

vessel Seaway


HKZ will feature 140 wind turbines

on TP-less monopile

foundations. Siemens is supplying

140 of its newly developed

type SG 11.0-200 DD, 11

MW wind turbine. The company

recently started serial production

of the wind turbines at

the new production site in

Cuxhaven, Germany.

Hollandse Kust Zuid is being

built around 18 to 36 kilometers

from the Dutch coast, between

The Hague and

Zandvoort. The project is developed

by Vattenfall. In June

this year, BASF joined as shareholder

(49.5%). The first

turbines are scheduled to be

commissioned in the spring of

2022, with all turbines expected

online by the summer of

2023. The electricity from the

turbines is collected and

transformed via two 700 MW

offshore transformer platforms

by TenneT. The jackets

for the two stations are already

in place. These platforms

are each connected via

220 kV AC cables to a new

land station at Maasvlakte 2.


Borssele 1&2

Ørsted’s first offshore wind

farm in the Netherlands,

Borssele 1&2, was officially

opened on Monday 6

September. The wind farm, located

approximately 23 km off

the coast at Westkapelle in the

province of Zeeland, has already

been operating since Q4

2020 but the opening was delayed

due to COVID-19


Ørsted won the tender in 2016

with a winning bid of 72.7 EUR

per MWh. In May this year,

Norges Bank Investment

Management officially became

50% shareholder in the wind


The project features 94

Siemens Gamesa SG 8.0-167

DD, 8 MW wind turbines on

monopile foundations in an

area of 112 km2 with water

depths varying between 14

and 36 meters. The main contractors

were Van Oord and

DEME Offshore (transport &

installation), Sif, EEW SPC,

EEW OSB and Bladt Industries

(foundations) and Nexans (cables).

The wind farm is connected

to the 380 kV high-voltage

land station in Borssele.

With 752 MW installed capacity,

Borssele 1&2 is the largest

operating offshore wind farm

in the Netherlands at the moment

and will be till Hollandse

Kust Zuid is completed and


1&2/© ØRSTED


34 | 01-2021





Read the full news on


(EN) or



01-2021 | 35

1 December 2021

Hal4 aan de Maas, Rotterdam




Sabine Lankhorst


Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge

Nature enhancement in

offshore wind farms

In March this year, the finals of the 4th edition of the annual Offshore Wind

Innovation Challenge took place. The challenges for this edition were provided by

The Rich North Sea (De Rijke Noordzee) who were looking for ‘The Perfect

Biodegradable Reef’ or ‘Efficient Biodiversity Monitoring’ to enhance nature in

offshore wind farms.

The annual Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge is

organised by the community of Offshore Wind

Innovators from TKI Wind op Zee. Its goal is to

facilitate a fast realisation for an innovative solution to

an existing challenge faced by the offshore wind industry. For each

edition, offshore wind players are asked to provide a challenge they

are facing in their field of expertise.

Rich North Sea

For this edition, The Rich North Sea challenged innovative small

companies to come up with a solution for ‘The Perfect

Biodegradable Reef’ or ‘Efficient Biodiversity Monitoring’.

The Rich North Sea is an initiative of nature organisations Natuur

& Milieu and North Sea Foundation (Stichting De Noordzee).

The Rich North Sea aims to work towards a rich and healthy

North Sea, where the development of offshore wind farms goes

hand in hand with nature enhancement. The organisation, made

possible with funding from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery’s

Dream Fund, sees an opportunity for offshore wind farms to act as

breeding grounds for underwater nature. The expansion of wind

farms in the coming years in the North Sea therefore also means

an enormous potential for nature development. By means of pilot

projects in partnership with offshore wind industrial players, they

are trying to enable nature enhancement in offshore wind farms.

And the winner is…

From 13 solutions submitted by national and international startups

and organisations, three were selected for the finals. These

were Reefy and Reefsystems for the ‘The Perfect Biodegradable

Reef’ and Belgian research centre ILVO Flanders for ‘Efficient

Biodiversity Monitoring’ solutions. Leading up to the finals, the

contenders worked together with the partners The Rich North Sea,

Eneco and Van Oord to improve their concepts. During a live

stream on 4 March 2021, the three finalists were given the

opportunity to pitch their unique solution.

The jury, consisting of nature experts from The Rich North Sea,

Eneco, and Van Oord, selected the winner. Reefy convinced the

jury the most. On the next few pages you can read all about the

solutions of the three contenders and where they are now.

01-2021 | 37


Sabine Lankhorst


Ecological stepping stones

for offshore wind farms

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertain times for many companies.

However, sometimes something good can come out of a crisis. In this case, it

brought together the partners in startup Reefy, the winner of the fourth edition of

the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge.

Reefy started with two Mexican engineers, Jaime

Ascencio and Daniel Dacomba, who in 2017 so

happened to meet each other a day before their

departure to the Netherlands where they were both

going to study at the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft).

This was the start of a friendship.

Ascencio was a sales engineer who, back in Mexico, was selling

solutions to protect the coast and enhance marine life to resorts

and ports. He discovered, however, something was missing in the

solutions. Already then, he had the wish to develop a nature based

artificial reef and decided to study hydraulic engineering in Delft.

In 2019 he invited Dacomba to team up with him to explore the

potential of his idea. At the end of that same year they filed the

patent and incorporated Reefy in the Chamber of Commerce.

Bring the technique to the offshore wind


In early 2020, they heard about the 2020 edition of the Offshore

Wind Innovation Challenge. Ascencio: “They were asking for what

we already had in mind, an artificial reef. However, up to then we

had only be thinking on coastal protection application, like break

waters, so we had to try to understand the client and bring this to

the offshore wind sector also.”

They started working on ideas but by the summer the two men

agreed that they, being both engineers, also needed someone with

both biology experience and a sense for business. So they posted a

vacancy on their social media. That’s when Leon Haines, a

follower of Reefy, got in touch with them. At that time he was

living in Indonesia where he had been working for some years in

coral reef reforestation and in the last two years founded a

conservation programme. Until COVID-19 made it impossible to

continue. He applied and returned to the Netherlands.

Ascencio and Dacomba were in the middle of the first round of

the Challenge. Ascencio: “I just finished my master so all of the

sudden we now had three full time employees. We made a lot of

progress since then.” They talked to many experts, ranging from

marine ecologists, rig divers and maritime archaeologists to

material experts and marine contractors, did experiments at

Deltares, and made improvements to their design. The first

meeting with the organisation of the Challenge took place in

‘Decommissioning is very

expensive, therefore, whether

you are green or not, this is a

wise economic option’

September. Reefy had offered a broad system. During the meeting

they were helped in narrowing down the focus and were given

suggestions to further work on.

Ecological stepping stones

The end result was a stable, hydrodynamically tested modular biodegradable

reef solution. A flexible system of interlocking ecoblocks,

in elongated shapes with cavities, provides a habitat

complexity of tunnels, courtyard environments and overhanging

sheltering environments from day one but evolves into a

flourishing biogeny reef over the course of just a few years.

“The hollow blocks are filled with a semi-hard substrate of

natural material like old oyster shells, gravel, and sand and are

pre-seeded with oyster larvae. The oysters will grow and produce

larvae themselves”, Haines explains, “When their larvae return to

the reef, it will start growing and become a natural reef again. The

blocks stay good long enough for this process to complete.”

38 | 01-2021

A bio degradable scour apron allows for the blocks to be placed on

existing scour protection or in the sand between the monopiles. We

like to call them ecological stepping stones, Haines says. Ascencio:

“Creating these islands of biodiversity in few key points between

the monopiles can exponentially help marine life.” We are also

working on the idea of making scour protection with the Reefy

blocks but that is still taking shape, Ascencio said.

3D printing

Having to develop a biodegradable reef really pushed the three

Reefy men to come up with the best material. Almost every week

they changed this. For the finals they came up with two materials.

The first is marine grade wood. Haines: “I think I must have

spoken to every wood professional in the Netherlands. They

pinpointed at what type of wood we could use and how long they

would last underwater.”

On a different track, the men from Reefy also looked at

biopolymers which they were already studying for use in other

concepts. They looked at solanyl and liquid wood. At some point

they got in contact with 10XL, one of the biggest 3D printers in

the world. The company, also founded by former TU Delft

students and based in Hardinxveld, turned massive robot arms

into 3D printers. These are able to print objects up to 20 meters

long. The printers can print 6 blocks in approximately 12 hours,

Haines explained. The advantage is that they can produce 24/7

and you don’t have any labour costs. “We tried different

biopolymers because no one ever printed with this material at that

scale before. With liquid wood it was the first time!“

They also did some marine toxicity tests, Ascencio continued.

“We tested all these materials in a tank and simulated years of

degradation to see how they react in marine life. The nice thing

about the materials is that they are all circular. So both the two

biopolymers we suggested are from waste cycles, from the paper

industry and fries and have a CO2 storage label.“

To monitor the oyster growth, epifaunal succession, and marine

degradation they offered two solutions, a retractable block from

the same material as the rest of the reef or a smart block with a

DNA sampler from ILVO, one of the other contenders, in it.

Two possible locations

The idea of winning the challenge was to have a pilot to take place

within 12 months. A week after the final they had a first

orientation talk with The Rich North Sea who had two locations in

mind that could potentially be interesting to test the biodegradable

reef. The first location was the Offshore Test Site and the second

the Luchterduinen offshore wind farm off the coast of IJmuiden.

The first location would mainly be interesting for testing the

installation, stability and engineering aspects, as the seabed is very

muddy. The Luchterduinen project is much more interesting from

a biology point of view. This site also offers the advantage that

previous experiments have been performed with oyster cages.

01-2021 | 39

These proved that oysters can grow and reproduce there. “They

also have the permit already in place, so starting there would make

sense if we are to monitor reef enhancement with our Reefy

blocks,” Ascencio said.

The men were also able to draw from the lessons learned in the

oyster cage project. Sand waves made the cages sink in the seabed.

“This is why we have to make a stable but at the same time high

structure. But if you make it too high it will collapse. It requires

the right balance so oysters know they will be free of sand to


It also requires the right balance between the marine contractor

and the installation costs, engineering on stability, the complexity

for marine life and the sand waves. Ascencio: “We are making a

plan for both sites. See what will be possible and where, identify

the pros and cons and the budget. We provided The Rich North

Sea with a quotation for the block, it now depends on the site and

the budget for the complete project.”

Good business case

“Decommissioning is very expensive, therefore, whether you are

green or not, this is a wise economic option,” Ascencio says. Even

if legislation allows the structure to remain at the site after

decommissioning of the wind farm, depending on the scale, the

Reefy blocks could even be cheaper than concrete blocks, he adds.

This has to do with the blocks being hollow containers and as

such, enable a massive volume reduction.”

Future goals

Ascencio explains Reefy’s vision on the future: “We want to spark

a green revolution in the world of marine infrastructure. Our goal

is to provide solutions that will enhance nature and bring benefits

to clients like offshore wind farms and coastal protection. Reefy is

a very international orientated company as reef structures are

needed all around the world. In the long term we would like to

have partners in different locations worldwide that could help us

scale up.

At this stage we also try to collaborate with internationally

operating companies, like Boskalis and Van Oord, to help us make

the first step in key parts of the world. The exposure we received

from the Challenge helped us get in contact with those big


The solutions by Reefy have not gone unnoticed and Reefy won

several awards and nominations outside the Offshore Wind

Innovation Challenge, such as the CleantechNL challenge,

NENnovation Award 2020, BLUEBIO Acceleration, EU

Blueinvest award 2021. They also received a grant from the

province of Zuid-Holland.

Most recently they have been provided two tickets, one from

Boskalis and one from the Port of Rotterdam, for the PortXL

program. Here they will work towards a pilot project in the

port of Rotterdam. The precise project will become clear in a

few months’ time

40 | 01-2021

Sabine Lankhorst



Underwater nature

enhancing solutions

The western harbour area of Amsterdam is home to Prodock, an ‘incubator’ for

innovative startups with one shared goal: contributing to sustainability.

ReefSystems is one of them. This Dutch startup was one of the nominees for the

Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge 2020 award.

Jesse de Bont and Max Dijkstra give a tour

of the warehouse where the two partners in

ReefSystems are working hard on three

different innovations that are all aimed at

stimulating biodiversity, in this case


It all started with MOSES (Modular

Sealife System), a multifunctional, easy to

install, modular artificial reef system. The

idea came from Dijkstra: “I wanted to

create objects that are nature enhancing

and would still be there after I was gone.”

He approached the University of

Wageningen and worked with a professor

who specialized in marine ecology on his

final project. This he completed in 2018.

After a few years of working alone, he got

into a conversation with childhood friend

De Bont and they decided to work


At that time, the MOSES system was

already being tested for the first time on

the outside of the Brouwers Dam, where

the introduction of the Haringvliet locks

had reduced biodiversity. With De Bont’s

business acumen, two funds were soon

brought in. From that moment on things

went fast.

Offshore Wind Innovation


The MOSES system also prompted

Offshore Wind Innovators to contact the

men and interest them in participating in

the annual Offshore Wind Innovation

Challenge. Could ReefSystems perhaps

also come up with a biodegradable version,

one that would last for 25 years, was the

question. “We immediately started

brainstorming and submitted the

application,” says Dijkstra. In doing so,

with each step further, they eventually

ended up in the finals.

The final design is a biodegradable block

that can be placed on the seabed in

offshore wind farms, creating a shellfish

reef where fish and reefs can grow and

multiply safely. To do this, they

experimented with different types of

materials to make the blocks

biodegradable, such as calcium-containing

tabby concrete, solanyl (a biodegradable

plastic made from starch from potato

peels), flax fibers, manila rope, and

artificial scouring protection from seaweed.

As the shell reef grows, the object slowly

disappears. When the reef is complete, the

man-made object is completely gone.

“The whole development was fun and

educational, we did an awful lot of figuring

out how to make this system economically

feasible and in doing so, what obstacles

were to overcome in terms of installation,

efficiency, affordability and building

locally,” De Bont tells.

At the moment the project is on hold for a

while. That is unfortunate for both men,

but they are ready if there is need or if an

opportunity rises where they can do a pilot

with The Rich North Sea. All they need is a

budget, they can do the entire production

in-house. “It’s a long and difficult process,”

says De Bont. “There are a lot of

requirements. End users have to be

convinced of the innovation and that it

constitutes a safe and biological solution

for the stimulation of biodiversity. As a

startup, of course, you want everything to

go a little faster.”

01-2021 | 41

MOSES block attracting fish in Kenia

Covered MOSES block at Brouwersdam


While the biodegradable reef is still

waiting, Dijkstra and De Bont are busy

with their other innovations. They have

designed SPECTER, a multi-layered

hanging case that can be attached to dam

walls below the waterline. In it, native

aquatic plants are placed in burlap sacks.

After a season, the roots of the plants grow

through the sacks and attach themselves to

the case. The hanging cases serve as hiding

places for fish, which in turn is good for

fish migration. The innovation is in line

with the EU Water Framework Directive in

terms of water quality and biodiversity. The

innovation is being tested at five sites and,

if proven successful, is an ideal product for

water authorities.

First large-scale commercial

project with MOSES

With the MOSES system, ReefSystems is

already well on the way. The first system

installed in Zeeland proved to be a success.

Within a year it was already completely

covered with aquatic vegetation and

attracting underwater species. When the

men moved into Prodock they were asked

by the Port of Amsterdam if they could

also install it in the Noordzeekanaal. They

that function as artificial reefs. They were

awarded the contract by contractor

Heijmans and engineering firm Arcadis.

The installation will take place in the first

week of November. The structures will be

spread over a number of kilometers and

monitored for two years by researchers

from two universities. The monitoring

should show what works best and is costeffective,

after which a decision will be

made whether to extend the project along

nine kilometers of dike. Production is

already in full swing.

Large-scale production and

testing at Deltares

In August, a new machine was put into

operation. A mechanical engineer designed

a semi-automatic mould. With the new

acquisition, large-scale production is now

possible. Previously this was limited to five

structures per day. The new machine, and

related increased production capacity,

allows ReefSystems to offer the product

more cheaply.

In the meantime, the company is also

developing a new connecting system. De

Bont: “Up to now we glue the

constructions together with marine epoxy.

‘By linking the system to another function such as protection

against erosion at the base of a wind turbine or as an ecological

add-on for anchoring systems, a win-win situation is created’

no longer dictate that the structure must be

removed along with the wind turbine after

x-number of years. “If the artificial reef

supports nature development in wind

farms, then leave it in place. If you remove

the reef you will destroy everything,” says

Dijkstra. “Encourage wind farms to

become multifunctional aquaculture,

where seaweed, oysters and mussels can be

grown and fish attracted. This will create a

spill-over effect of kilometers around the

wind farm. The fishing industry then

benefits from that as well.”

Moreover, by linking the system to another

function such as protection against erosion

at the base of a wind turbine or on a

submarine cable or as an ecological add-on

for anchoring systems in, for example,

seaweed production or floating solar parks

within wind farms, a win-win situation is

created for everyone.


Although the innovations of Dijkstra en De

Bont contribute to the absorption of CO2,

it is also important for the men to make the

production process as CO2-neutral as

possible. They have been working with as

many recycled materials as possible from

the start. They are also working with

concrete experts to increase CO2 neutrality

by working with bio-cement. Dijkstra:

“R&D is important to us, by continuing to

innovate we can keep sustainability high.”

selected three locations. Meanwhile the

reef blocks are also being applied in

Panama (in partnership with Boskalis and

other parties) and Kenya, as substrate for

new reef in places where the old reef has

been destroyed or damaged.

This summer they also won their first

commercial contract for the MOSES

system. For a combination project of dike

reinforcement and biodiversity stimulation

near Lauwersoog on the Wadden Sea,

ReefSystems will install thirteen structures

With the new moulds we are also

introducing a new connecting system.

By using a bolt-nut system we can

guarantee that the connections will be able

to withstand storms. We will test the

stability and strength of our structures in

cooperation with TU Delft at Deltares’

wave test facilities.”

Win-win situation

Actually, the more permanent MOSES

system could just as well be used for wind

farms, both agree. At least, if regulations

The men realize that with their mission to

create products that enhance biodiversity

they have not chosen the easiest path,

because nature itself obviously does not

pay. Fortunately they can tell that there is

growing consciousness that people also

benefit from more biodiversity and that

there is now a need for this. In combination

with another function such as dyke

reinforcement, breakwater, anchoring,

erosion protection and so on, there is, as

mentioned earlier with wind farms,

ultimately a win-win situation for


42 | 01-2021

4-8 april 2022

Egmond aan Zee

The Netherlands


Hosted by Bureau Waardenburg and the Dutch government

Call for Abstracts now open!

1 December 2021

T +31(0)72 8009989




Sabine Lankhorst

Autonomous eDNA sampling for:

Zero impact biodiversity


With marine life being under increasing pressure, the Flemish Institute for

Agricultural, Fisheries and Food Research (ILVO) has started to look for a more

sustainable, alternative method to study marine biodiversity.

As a research institute, ILVO has been monitoring the

Belgian part of the North Sea, including wind farms,

twice a year for the past 30 years to study which species

of fish and invertebrates are found here and how

biodiversity changes over time. The existing monitoring method is

time-consuming, labour-intensive and involves removing the

animals from their habitat and impacting the seabed.

Since 2019, ILVO coordinates the Interreg North Sea Regions

project GEANS (Genetic tools for Ecosystem health Assessment

in the North Sea region) which aims, among others, to develop

and harmonize DNA-based time- and cost-saving techniques for

genetic monitoring.

Sofie Derycke, senior researcher at ILVO: “But even with this

method we still remove animals from their habitat. The only thing

we bypass is the taxonomic expertise. In the challenge, we wanted

to go a step further by studying the DNA released by fish and

floating in the water column, the so-called environmental DNA



DNA molecules are released into the water when fish filter the

water, but also through the production of eggs, sperm and faeces,

she explains. The animals themselves are left alone. ILVO has

determined around 130,000 sequences at twelve different

locations in the Belgian North Sea by sampling the water, filtering

it and analysing the part of the DNA found on the filter for

biological patterns. This method has proven to be successful.

eDNA is not new. This method, for example, is already used in

closed freshwater systems such as lakes. However, its application

in the North Sea is still in its infancy, Derycke explains. That also

makes it more challenging. The North Sea is shallow, up to 30 to

40 meters, with many water currents and wave action. A

homogeneous mass can quickly develop. It is therefore important

to know for certain where the DNA molecules have originated:

from the place where the sample was taken or by currents that

arrived there at the time of sampling. That was one of the

questions they wanted to investigate for the challenge.

To be able to make that distinction, a link is made with available

hydrodynamic models that accurately map out the water flows.

Derycke: “At several locations where we know the communities

are different, we sampled to see whether eDNA reveals the

different communities or whether it has become one big soup due

to wave and current action. We do see that there are geographic

patterns reflected in the eDNA.”

Manual sampling

Sampling of eDNA is currently still done manually. Special bottles

are deployed from research vessels to certain water depths to

collect water. The bottles still have to be brought down and up

manually. ILVO cooperates with other institutes in Belgium; with

the Institute for Nature and Forest Research (INBO) to further

develop the eDNA method, and with the Flemish Institute for the

Sea (VLIZ) and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

(KBIN) to collect more samples in the North Sea. For example,

through the Lifewatch campaigns of VLIZ, eDNA is now collected

monthly at nine sites in the North Sea to also determine temporal

patterns in eDNA. This could provide a more accurate picture of

exactly when fish pawn.

The disadvantage of this practise is that it is dependent on the use

of a research vessel and some locations are hard to reach. In the

case of wind farms, you also need permission from the wind farm


Illustration of eDNA

44 | 01-2021

Autonomous sampling

“What if the sampling could take place autonomously,” says

Derycke; “without a research vessel and personnel. You can take

samples using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) which

could also remain at sea longer.”

Derycke already found a sampler that is commercially available.

This can operate at depths up to 5 km and stay in the water

autonomously for 14 months. Batteries ensure that everything

keeps working and samples can be taken once in a while. The

frequency of sampling can be set in advance.

The sampler can be lowered from a ship onto the seabed or

attached to something, such as a buoy, but also, for example, to

artificial reef structures. ILVO looked at the latter during the

challenge with fellow participant Reefy. However, if the sampler

can be converted and installed in on AUV, then sampling can

also be done in different places.

“That also made participation in the challenge interesting, to

actually take that step further, towards automation. So we can

sample at multiple locations and thus study not only the

temporal but also the spatial variation,” says Derycke.

“First we need to test whether the sampler is entirely suitable for

sampling eDNA. The sampler is currently being used to sample

plankton. The principle is the same, but the concentration of

eDNA is much lower compared to plankton,” explains Derycke.

The tubes that are used to take samples must be cleaned very

well after use to prevent cross-contamination.

Link with taxonomic data

Derycke wants to emphasize that the (e)DNA method does not

replace the taxonomic system. “With a DNA sequence in itself

you are not going to know everything about the functioning of

the marine ecosystem. You can see shifts in DNA frequencies

but you also want to know what that means. Is it a particular

species coming or going and what is the function of that species?

It’s important that you can link those sequences to species


So all the taxonomic work over the last few decades is very

important to know what species are there. Creating a good

reference database where species are linked to DNA sequences

is a very important step to be able to build on with the DNA

results, and this is happening within the GEANS project.

eDNA at wind farms

eDNA could be put to good use at offshore wind farms, as a

monitoring strategy for offshore wind farms sites, as part of the

pre-tender phase when the characteristics of the site are

mapped. Based on the water samples, the biodiversity in the

areas to be developed can be characterized. Even when the wind

farm is in place, biodiversity can continue to be monitored in a

simple manner during its lifetime.

Getting stakeholders and policy on board

ILVO is already fully convinced of the concept. To make the

eDNA method the standard, however, there are still a few steps

to take. The first step is to convince stakeholders that this

method really has added value, not only for scientists and the

environment but also for them. Using the autonomous method

saves time and costs as monitoring is no longer dependent on

the availability of a research vessel and personnel.

To convince that the eDNA method is a more sustainable way to

monitor biodiversity, proof-of-concept is needed. In the

meantime, ILVO obtained a ten months extension of the

GEANS project. This was due to expire at the end of this year

‘That also made participation

in the challenge interesting, to

actually take that step further,

towards automation’

but has now been extended by ten months. “With the extension

it was possible to add additional activities. We have now added

the monitoring of eDNA in wind farms as a case study. The goal

is to study the patterns inside and outside the wind farms

C-power and Belwind and see if there are any differences

between them. But also within the wind farm, for example close

to the turbine, between the turbines or on the seabed where

fauna lives on hard substratum.”

A next step is to include the method in policy, at national but

preferably also at European level. That’s difficult and won’t

happen overnight, Derycke admits. “The most important

message is that we are going for zero impact. That we do not

disturb the animals or the habitat. Zero impact monitoring is the

future, especially with automation.”


The challenge did not generate any new partners or projects yet

but it did encourage ILVO to take real steps and gain confidence

in the applicability of the concept. “Because we were in the final,

we started contacting a number of companies ourselves here in

Belgium, including our federal partner RBINS, to see if we

could find funding for a sampler and we also looked at

opportunities for grants.”

That work has been rewarded because ILVO has now found

funding through two projects to start the eDNA study in the

wind farms and to purchase the sampler for this purpose. The

first tests in wind farms will take place in October and

November this year. This is not yet done autonomously but

testing for automatic collection is expected to take place by

summer next year.

Niskin-bottle, used for water sampling

01-2021 | 45






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