Northwester 2 is a 219MW offshore wind farm located in the North Sea, approximately 52km off the coast of Ostend, Belgium.
It is the seventh wind farm in the North Sea off the Belgian coast located at a water depth of approximately 40m.
Northwester 2, a project company with the right to develop wind farms with a capacity of up to 224MW in the Belgian territorial waters, is the project developer. Parkwind holds a 70% stake in Northwester 2, while Sumitomo Corporation holds the remaining 30%.
The offshore wind farm is estimated to cost approximately €700m ($805m) with a project life span of 25 years. It can generate up to 818,60GWh of electricity, sufficient to meet the requirements of 220,000 Belgian homes.
Northwester 2 reached an agreement in principle with the Belgian Government for the project development in October 2017. Financial closure was achieved in October 2018. Construction of the wind farm started in early 2018 while the turbine installation works started in December 2019. The wind farm achieved commercial operations in May 2020.
Northwester 2 offshore wind farm make-up
The Northwester 2 wind farm comprises 23 MHI Vestas V164 wind turbines with a capacity of 9.5MW each and the capability of powering 9,500 Belgian homes. It is the first wind farm to use Vestas V164-9.5MW turbines, which are the most powerful currently available in the world.
Submarine power cables interconnect the turbines and transfer the generated power to an offshore project substation, built on jacket foundations with a total weight of approximately 1,000t.
Each turbine has a tip height of 187m, hub height of 105m, and a swept area of 21,124m². The turbine blade is 80m-long and weighs 35t while its nacelle has a length of 20m, a height of 8m, and a width of 8m.
Power transmission from Northwester 2
Power collected by the project substation is transported to the Modular Offshore Grid (MOG) being developed by Belgium’s transmission system operator ELIA, approximately 40km from the Belgian coast in the North Sea.
MOG design features a central offshore switchyard (OSY) platform which is to be joined by four wind farms namely Rentel, Northwester 2, Mermaid, and SeaStar. The connectivity will help the wind farms to transmit electricity directly to the Belgian national electricity grid.
RWE Supply and Trading signed a long-term renewable power purchase arrangement with Parkwind in February 2019 to buy electricity produced from the Northwester 2 wind farm.
Parkwind and Sumitomo Corporation are providing equity financing for the project, while nine commercial banks have agreed to provide debt financing for the project.
European Investment Bank (EIB) is backing the Northwester 2 project with a loan facility of €210m ($242m). Denmark-based export credit agency EKF acted as guarantor for €100m ($115m) of the EIB facility, while the remaining amount is guaranteed by the EU budget under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
Financial closure of the project was achieved in October 2018 upon receiving a €700m ($800m) in funding from BNP Paribas Fortis, EIB, ASN Bank, Rabobank, Belfius Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, ING Bank, EKF, KBC Bank, Triodos Bank, and Société Général.
The Loyens and Loeff law firm was appointed as the financial advisor for the power project.
MHI Vestas Offshore awarded the contract for the supply of V164 wind turbines for the project.
Northwester 2 awarded the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) contract for the fabrication and installation of the foundations and wind turbines to Jan de Nul.
Bladt Industries was awarded the contract for the design and fabrication of the offshore high-voltage station in May 2018.
Semco Maritime, a partner of Bladt, was responsible for the electrical systems while ISC Engineering will provide the structural design for the project.
NSW, a subsidiary of General Cable, supplied the submarine inter-array power cable system for the project.
Nexans was contracted to supply the subsea or submarine power cables and the associated accessories.
Mott MacDonald acted as the lender’s technical advisor during the financial close and is now in charge of as the project’s construction and operations monitor.
Northwester 2 benefits
The offshore wind project is expected to offset approximately 500,000t of CO2 from the atmosphere, which is equivalent to removing 170,000 cars from the roads.
The project supported the Belgian Government to meet the European 20-20-20 Climate target commitments and provide affordable offshore wind energy. It is expected to help the government’s plans to double offshore wind capacity in Belgian territorial waters and produce up to 4GW by 2025.