Borssele III & IV officially fully operational

Today, the initiators of the 731.5 MW offshore wind farm Borssele III & IV, located some 22 km off the coast in the province of Zeeland, celebrated during a festive (online) ceremony the handover to operations ceremony. The wind farm is expected to produce roughly 3.000 Gwh per year.

In a one-hour live stream session the most important actors, such as the shareholders, public officials and contractors, reflected on the project, and looked forward to future developments concerning offshore wind at the Dutch North Sea, and the energy transition generally.

At the end of the session, the project was officially handed over to the operations team. This was performed by the hand-over of a spinning miniature turbine by Roeland Borsboom, the Blauwwind Project Director, to Luke Machen, Blauwwind’s Operations Director.

Eneco Offshore Wind Operations will perform the day to day operations. Maintenance and Operations will be done from a permanently manned Service Operations Vessel which has her home base in Oostende.

Last subsidised offshore wind asset in the Netherlands
Borssele III & IV is a project by the Blauwwind consortium. The consortium, currently consisting of Partners Group (acting on behalf of its clients) (45%), Shell (20%), Diamond Generating Europe (15%), Van Oord (10%) and Eneco (10%), won the tender by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs in December 2016. The project is the last subsidised offshore wind asset in the Netherlands. Financial Close and project sanction was achieved in June 2018.

The wind farm comprises 77 Vestas V164-9.5 Megawatt turbines. The first monopile was installed in October 2019. Foundation installation work was completed in April 2020. The first wind turbine was installed in May 2020 and the last one at the end of November. Van Oord was responsible for the installation, using their wind turbines installation vessel Aeolus.

The power generated from the turbines is collected in grid operator TenneT’s Borssele Beta offshore station where it is converted from 66 kV to 220 kV for transport to the land station. On 7 August 2020, the wind farm delivered the first electricity to the Dutch grid. The official commissioning took place on 6 January 2021.

Good cooperation
All speakers, including from the consortium partners, Vestas, TenneT and RVO, look positively back on the project so far. The wind farm was completed on-time, in just 4 years, in a safely manner and within budget. Even though large part of the construction took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The speakers also stressed the cooperation between the many parties involved in the project.

“This is a great achievement of everybody involved”, says Roeland Borsboom, project director and CEO for Blauwwind. “In difficult circumstances, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to construct the windfarm at a swift pace, without noteworthy problems or incidents. The five partners, the project organisation and the (sub)contractors collaborated incredibly well, while I also would like to mention the smooth cooperation with both TenneT, the owner of the offshore substation Borssele Beta, and Østed, our neighbours of the Borssele I&II project. Today we proudly celebrate the hand-over of the project to the Blauwwind operations team”.

Future of offshore wind farms in the Netherlands
The quick realisation of the Borssele III & IV wind farm was facilitates by the new Dutch tendering model where the government takes away the permiting risk and the grid connection infrastructure. The project is part of the Roadmap 2020-2023. The roadmap up to 2030 was sent last year to the parliament. The new government (elections planned in March) will have to decide on the period after 2030.

According to Marco Kuijpers, Director Large Projects Offshore at TenneT, the grid operator is ready to deal with the onshore connection and is anticipating the offshore connections (with the standard stepping up from 700 MW to 2 GW connections). For the period following 2030 he sees more pressure on the grid. There will be more need for demand. Load and demand should increase, for example, in the coastal areas where the offshore connections of the future wind farms land. This should be achieved by electrification of the industry, power to heat, power to gas. and a more international connection, such as energy hubs, he says. Ruben Dijkstra, Chairman, Blauwwind Board, agrees: “The push is no longer on the asset but needs to come from a pool from the industry, a pool from power to X. That transition needs to be put into legislation to allow us to excellerate the growth of offshore wind.”