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"Standing in the waves"

Richard Jongen & Jonathan Servais

In late 2021/early 2022, we produced 12 monopile foundations for Ballast Nedam for a wind farm near Maasvlakte 2. Eneco is developing a wind farm here for Rijkswaterstaat, which is partly on land and partly in the sea. It is a small, but nonetheless special project. Richard Jongen (Commercial Manager) and Jonathan Servais (Project Manager) explain why.

The project consists of a total of 22 wind turbines, of which 10 are on the hard seawall on the top of the dike. These are built with concrete foundations. The other 12 are on the soft seawall on monopile foundations. Jonathan: ‘The monopile foundations we built for this project are 40 m high and 5 m wide; that is smaller than we are used to in recent years. That is because they are closer to the coast and a lot less water has to be crossed. They don't have any cones, and instead of a TP there is just a small platform. Nonetheless, Ballast Nedam had to overcome a number of challenges during this project. For example, they had to add extra protection for the piles against erosion from the waves. Imagine if you are standing in the waves on the beach, then the sand around your feet will gradually be washed away. It doesn't take long before you start to sink down a few centimetres. In order to prevent that, they had to place a thick layer of rocks under the sand. They call this scour protection. The sand on top of it has to be put back after every storm.’

Niche

‘The great part is how much energy is going to be generated with such a small amount of steel,’ explains Richard. ‘That is thanks to the location near the coast. This is an artificial piece of coastline, without any local residents or nature that can be disturbed, and that is pretty rare in the Netherlands. But I think there is plenty of potential to do this type of small-scale near shore project again in the future, for example in Scandinavian countries. So it is great that we were awarded the contract for this project, especially since it was the first near shore project that Ballast Nedam has carried out. Besides, it would have been unbearable if monopile foundations of a competitor had been used so close to our site in Rotterdam!!’ Jonathan: ‘Plus we were able to offer the customer a lot of logistical advantages. They were able to use our quay and storage facilities and the monopile foundations only had to be transported a very short distance.’

Like the good old days

‘I think we should do this type of project more often,’ says Jonathan. ‘The small scale and the simplicity of it puts less pressure on fabrication. It's also nice to do something like this in between all the bigger contracts. Furthermore, the customer took on some of our design suggestions which offered them production advantages.’ Richard: ‘Absolutely. It feels a bit like the good old days. Sitting around the table with the customer so we can work out the best solution!’

The wind farm will become operational in 2023 and will generate 416 GWh of green electricity each year for Rijkswaterstaat, the municipality of Rotterdam, the province of South-Holland, and the port area.