Van Oord to build Hollandse Kust West VI – ‘The most ecological wind farm yet’

Van Oord and Ecowende, a joint venture of Shell and Eneco, have agreed to collaborate on the construction of the Hollandse Kust West VI offshore wind farm, with the contract(s) for the work to be signed later this year.

The Boreas vessel; Photo courtesy Van Oord

This will be the most ecological wind farm yet, said Van Oord, whose contract(s) will include construction work on the wind farm’s foundations, inter-array cables and wind turbines.

At Hollandse Kust West VI (HKW VI), Van Oord will be responsible for transporting and installing the foundations; designing, procuring and laying the connecting cables between the wind turbines; and transporting and installing the wind turbines.

The 760 MW offshore wind farm, for whose site the Ecowende joint venture won the permit in December 2022, is located 53 kilometres off the Dutch coast of IJmuiden and will comprise 54 wind turbines.

For the HKW Site VI, ecological impact was included as an additional criterion in the assessment of the applications for the permit so the design of Ecowende’s wind farm is “nature-inclusive”.

Earlier this year, the developer unveiled details for the offshore wind farm that will be in harmony with nature, which include measures and a design approach that will result in the project having minimal impact on birds, bats, and marine mammals.

The aim of the project, and the tender process that procured it, is to enable the development of offshore wind farms with a net-positive impact in the near future.

Ecowende will implement various innovations, large-scale mitigation and stimulation ecological measures and an extensive monitoring and research programme above and below the water. For Van Oord, this also means a different approach to previous wind farms, the company says.

Arnoud Kuis, managing director Van Oord Offshore Energy, said: “The fact that Van Oord has been involved in the construction of all the wind farms in the Dutch North Sea means we have built up a wealth of knowledge over the years. We are happy to be working with the Ecowende consortium to bring all our experience on innovative, ecological, nature-enhancing measures to bear for Hollandse Kust West”.

The collaboration between Ecowednde and Van Oord was announced today, 8 September, at the ‘Van Oord & Energy Transition’ masterclass, to mark the launching ceremony for Van Oord’s new cable-laying vessel Calypso.

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According to Folkert Visser, CEO and Project Director of Ecowende, when Ecowende chose Van Oord as the contractor for offshore construction work, the developer also looked at emissions.

Ecowende will monitor, investigate and adjust the effectiveness of this approach with various innovations and technologies, according to Van Oord.

“We take measures that have an immediate impact, but also many measures intended to try out new methods and fill knowledge gaps. We do not yet have all the knowledge on the effects of wind farms on nature. Precisely this knowledge is indispensable if we in the Netherlands want to grow responsibly in offshore wind energy and be an example for the rest of the world”, Folkert Visser said.

Arnoud Kuis said: “In building the Ecowende wind farm, we are applying quieter installation techniques. The purpose being that this park and future parks can be built under stricter permit conditions. Van Oord is also laying various types of nature-friendly rubble around the foundations. Moreover, reducing the footprint (CO2 and nitrogen) during the construction phase is being given maximum attention”.

“Van Oord is investing heavily in installation vessels using new fuels, to make the industry even more sustainable. The yet-to-be-built installation vessel Boreas, which can operate on methanol, will be delivered in 2025. Ecowende will be one of the first projects of this green giant”, Kuis said.