Image credit: Vattenfall

Vattenfall has announced that construction of the 1.5GW Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm in The Netherlands has started.

Martijn Hagens, CEO of Vattenfall Netherlands, hailed the project as “the first subsidy-free offshore wind farm in the world” and added that its construction was “starting a new chapter” for windpower.

“We are demonstrating that this market is becoming mature. I am extremely proud of the step we’re now taking, bringing Dutch households and our industrial partners another step closer to fossil free living.”

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The construction works for Hollandse Kust Zuid will start with the installation of monopile foundations, each foundation specifically designed for the location where it will be installed.

The heaviest and largest monopile weighs 955 tons and is 75 metres long, while the lightest and shortest foundation weighs 735 tons and is 62 metres long. The monopiles will be installed in water depths varying from 17 to 28 metres.

Image credit: Paul Martens

An installation vessel will transport the foundations to their offshore location and position itself at the exact location. The ship’s crane will then lift the monopile into the water and lower it until it reaches the seabed at a depth of 17 to 28 metres. Once the foundation is in position on the seabed, a hydraulic hammer is used to drive the pile to the desired depth.

“Over the next few months, we will already install dozens of foundations”, says project director Ian Bremner. “During the winter there is a scheduled break, as sea and weather conditions are often too poor to work safely. In the spring of 2022, construction will resume, and we will install the remaining foundations followed by inter-array cables and turbines. The first turbines are currently scheduled to be commissioned in the spring of 2022, with all turbines expected online by summer of 2023.”

Vattenfall is building Hollandse Kust Zuid together with its recently-announced partner BASF. The wind farm will be located approximately 18 kilometres off the coast of The Hague and Zandvoort, with the furthest turbines located 36 kilometres offshore.

When fully operational, Hollandse Kust Zuid will host 140 turbines and have a combined installed capacity of 1.5GW.

Vattenfall will make a significant part of the fossil-free electricity generated by the wind farm available to Dutch households and small businesses. BASF will use its part of the production to implement innovative, low-emission technologies at several of its production sites in Europe.