Belgian Federal Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten names ‘Groenewind’ - heralding a new era in offshore wind maintenance

Shortly after its official naming ceremony, ‘Groenewind’ is set to enter service as the vessel is already deployed under a long-term charter contract with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), whereby it will transport technicians to the Rentel and SeaMade offshore wind farms in Belgium.

Improving safety, comfort and workability

Improving safety, comfort and workability, the 60 m, Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) SOV is equipped with a motion compensated gangway for the safe transfer of the maintenance technicians to the turbines, even in significant wave heights of up to 2.5 m.

The SWATH design ensures low wave impact on movements when approaching wind turbines. ‘Groenewind’ has a capacity for 24 technicians and a nautical crew. Its DP2 technology means that the vessel can hold its position in rough seas but at the same time operate with lower fuel consumption. An impressive fuel consumption reduction of up to 50% can be achieved compared to a monohull SOV, further reducing the cost of wind farm maintenance. With environmental considerations of utmost importance, the SOV has a waste heat recovery system and a Clean Design notation.

Belgium number five in the offshore wind sector
Belgian Federal Minister of Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten: “With offshore wind we prove that you can be big even if you are a small country. Worldwide, Belgium is number five in the offshore wind sector and our companies are pioneers with their expertise and technological innovation. 'Groenewind', the new maintenance vessel for our Belgian wind turbines is an example of this, and it is therefore an honour to be the godmother. In the coming years we will further develop the potential of the North Sea with an energy island, among other things. In just a few years, wind energy has become the cheapest form of electricity production, thanks in part to the expertise and passion of our Belgian companies.”

Bart De Poorter, General Manager DEME Offshore Renewables comments: “DEME is delighted that Minister Van der Straeten is Groenewind’s godmother and that she could join us in celebrating this industry milestone. DEME Offshore has installed almost 2,500 wind turbines and contributed to more than 70 offshore wind farms, making us the number one contractor in the world. We continue to pioneer in all aspects of the offshore wind industry, but this time on the maintenance side, together with our partners SGRE and Otary, which share our ambitions for a carbon neutral future.”

Mathias Verkest, CEO Otary says: “Less than six months after finishing the construction activities of our SeaMade offshore wind farm, I am happy to be part of this naming ceremony of a brand new, state-of-the-art service vessel ‘Groenewind’. The Belgian North Sea - known as our ‘11th province’ - now has a total capacity of 2,262 MW of offshore electricity production, providing 2.2 million Belgian households in our 10 ‘onshore’ provinces with green and clean energy. This makes Belgium one of the largest producers of offshore wind in Europe.”

Otary, which is the operator of both the Rentel offshore wind farm, operational since March 2019, and SeaMade (the largest wind farm in the Belgian North Sea), now has 100 offshore wind turbines in its portfolio, representing an installed capacity of 800 MW. These power plants provide green electricity to 800,000 households. 

Pioneering technologies

Mathias Verkest emphasises: “The industry is maturing in a very short time. Wind farms are built faster, bigger, better and cheaper. They are positioned further away from shore and in deeper waters, and of course this not only requires specific technology for the construction phase, but equally during the operational phase enabling wind farm maintenance to be performed in the most efficient, safe and ecological way.

“The new vessel ‘Groenewind’, the world’s first DP2, twin-hulled Service Operation Vessel ticks all of those boxes.  Although a compact design, this vessel embodies a lot of pioneering technologies, which ensure low wave impact when  approaching the wind turbines and at the same time reduce fuel consumption substantially, which is a win-win for the environment and long term profitability.”

Best-in-class service

SGRE’s Head of Offshore Service Logistics, René Wigmans, is equally enthusiastic and comments: “In collaboration with DEME, Siemens Gamesa is the one-stop shop service solutions partner for Otary. We look forward to leveraging this new vessel to deliver a best-in-class service to their wind farms and to seeing innovation come alive with this new ship design, underlining our role as pioneers in the offshore service sector. We are very pleased to celebrate the naming of ‘Groenewind’ and that she will enter our service fleet soon, and we wish this special vessel safe operations for the years to come. Looking ahead, we anticipate a further extension of our cooperation with DEME, and also for heavy-lift operations.”