Jan De Nul rebaptizes second offshore ‘windmill ship’
Dredging company, Jan De Nul, has baptized its second offshore ship – Taillevent – on Thursday. The 138,5 metres long and 40 metres wide ship is specially developed to transport the heavy foundations and components of wind farms. The ship is equipped with six vertical pillars, capable of lifting the ship from the water to install the wind turbines in a stable way up to 40 metres under the seawater level.
‘Vole au vent’
De Nul bought the ship in July from the Dutch shipping company Vroon to realize its ambitions in the growing wind farm sector. A first similar offshore ship was bought in 2015 from DEME, which just had taken over some Hochtief ships. The ship was rebaptized ‘Vole au vent’ and is one of the biggest in the sector.
“Offshore activities represent about 20 to 25% of the two billion euro yearly turnover”, says Philippe Hutse, responsible for offshore activities. “Oil and gas are staying stable, while renewable energy is growing. That’s why we need extra ships.”
Jan De Nul has three large projects for 2019. In Germany it will install 32 6,2 megawatt wind turbines in front of the coast of Borkum. In Belgium 23 wind turbines will be built for the Belgian North-wester II project, the biggest ever, with a capacity of 9,5 megawatt each.
With the new offshore ship, De Nul now leaves Europe for a project in Taiwan, where a wind farm will be installed with a capacity of 120 megawatt. Value of the three projects is 350 million euro. Still in Taiwan, De Nul also is going to build 21 typhoon-resitant windmills by 202, together with Hitachi, a 500 million euro contract.
The dredging company is working on the engineering of a third offshore ship as well, which should be ready by 2021, but the company doesn’t know yet how big it will be. “The Taillevent has a lifting capacity of 1.000 tons. How much more do we need? Wind farms tend to become bigger and bigger, so question is: where is the limit?”
Most important competitors for De Nul are the usual suspects: dredging companies Boskalis, DEME and Van Oord’, explains Hutse. “They have the engineers and the knowhow. Smaller companies, like Vroon, don’t and often have to pull out. We don’t have any competition from the Chinese yet, they’re working on large wind farm projects in their countries but it won’t be long before they will get going over here.”
‘Wind and food’
Jan De Nul is looking for further expansion in Taiwan, South Korea and India. The name of the third ship, by the way, will probably be something with ‘wind’ and ‘food’ as well…