Power & Energy Solutions

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Ocean transportation of wind farm equipment

Long standing heavy lift specialist company BigLift Shipping, member of the Netherlands-based Spliethoff Group, is more and more engaged with developments in the renewable energy markets in Europe, and also in the US and Asia. Where wind turbines used to be relatively small, new generation turbine parts, particularly monopiles, are now so heavy and large that a state-of-the art heavy lift vessel is required for their transportation.

BigLift has a track record when it comes to the transportation of wind-turbine related cargo, such as monopiles, transition pieces, jackets, nacelles, and wind blades.

The new generation wind turbine is increasing in size and weight and brings with it a growing need for heavy lift vessels to transport the, also, growing turbine-pieces. BigLift’s Happy S-types and MC-Class Heavy transport vessels – the latter added to the BigLift fleet in January – are eminently suitable for such cargoes.

Nacelles and tower sections for Merkur wind farm

Starting in 2017, BigLift has made eight voyages for the construction-ready Merkur wind farm, located approximately 45 km north of the island of Borkum, Germany, in the North Sea. The wind farm will consist of 66 wind turbines and once complete will generate approximately 1,750 GWh annually, enough clean energy to power around 500,000 homes.

In 2017, heavy-lift vessel mv Happy Sky took the main part of the voyages for our client GE Wind, with four shipments of nacelles and two shipments of tower sections.

In total 24 nacelles, weighing 400mt a piece, where shipped in four voyages from Montoir, France, to Eemshaven, the Netherlands. All pieces were loaded in single lift operations, with either of the two 900mt heavy lift mast cranes on board the vessel, making use of a specially developed lifting frame, supplied by the client. Happy Sky’s lifting curves range from 1,800mt at 21 metres, 1,600mt at 25 metres to 1,000mt at 32 metres, with a lifting height of 41 metres above the main deck.

Additionally, Happy Sky transported a total of 21 tower sections from Cuxhaven, Germany, to Eemshaven in two voyages. The tower sections have a diameter of six metres and vary in length and size – the smallest was 30.7 metres long, weighing 100mt, the largest was 35.8 metres, weighing 165mt The first shipment consisted of twelve tower sections, the remaining nine went in the next voyage.

Early 2018, BigLift’s mv Happy River transported an additional twelve tower sections from Cuxhaven to Eemshaven. At the time of writing this article mv Happy Dover is on her way to Eemshaven from Taicang, China, carrying a further sixteen tower sections. More shipments for the same project are in the pipeline.

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