Iberdrola has had to pause foundation work at its 496MW Saint-Brieuc wind farm off Brittany, France, after a jack-up vessel drilling and installing foundation piles at the site leaked hydraulic fluid into the sea.
The incident occurred while the Van Oord vessel Aeolus was drilling the second set of boreholes as part of a piling campaign. A technical problem caused 170 litres of Panolin HLP Synth hydraulic fluid – a biodegradable fluid used for underwater applications – to leak from the vessel.
According to news sources, Iberdrola immediately stopped work at the site when it discovered the leak to allow maritime authorities to carry out a technical inspection of the drilling jig.
The investigation into the incident by the judicial police and the maritime gendarmerie is still ongoing. At this stage, Ailes Marines confirms that the source of the leakage is not due to structural damage to the template, but to a hydraulic connection that became loose during the work.
The vessel AEOLUS has left the bay of Saint-Brieuc to return to its home port in the Netherlands (Vlissingen) for repairs and inspection. As a result, Ailes Marines and Van Oord have decided to temporarily stop the drilling work to focus on analysis and improvement of the tools, in order to ensure an optimal resumption of the drilling work.
According to Iberdrola, the Saint-Brieuc wind farm aims to leverage the region’s full wind potential. With an investment of 2.4 billion euros it is estimated that, once commercialisation begins in 2023, it will produce 1,820GWh per year, which will supply energy to 835,000 people.
This will be possible thanks to a total installed capacity of 496MW from 62 turbines each generating 8MW of power, which will cover a surface area of 75 km2 located some 16 km off the French coast.