Elia Seeks Subsea Surveyors for Modular Offshore Grid

Elia Asset N.V. is looking to appoint contractor(s) who will carry out seabed survey and seasoil sampling off the east Belgian coast, where submarine power cables and an offshore platform are planned to be installed as part of the Modular Offshore Grid project. 

Along with the survey design and planning, the work will include marine geophysical, geotechnical and benthic surveys along the proposed cable corridor and at the platform’s location, including the intertidal.

Furthermore, a bathymetric survey, seabed feature identification, and ferrous object detection (including UXO survey) are required.

Shallow geology and geotechnical surveys to a nominal 10m below the seabed will also be done, as well as seabed material sampling and particle size analysis, imagery, survey reporting, data delivery including GIS formats, and benthic analysis.

The contract will also cover seabed survey proposals (technical feasibility and alternatives) for the submarine cables and for the platform.

Deadline for the submission of tenders is 4 April, 2016.

Elia is currently working on the design of the modular grid and its regulatory framework. With the creation of a modular grid or “power socket”, wind farms will be connected to a high-voltage substation located on an offshore platform, which will, in turn, be connected to the onshore grid.

In the long term, the modular grid infrastructure is planned to be connected to an international platform using direct-current connections, in order to transmit greater quantities of power over longer distances. Some of Belgium’s neighbouring countries, like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, are also working to develop grids in their territorial waters in the North Sea. Therefore, such an international platform will facilitate access to other types of energy, particularly hydropower in Scandinavia, Elia said on its website.

These resources could be used in the event of there being insufficient wind in the North Sea. The connections will also allow wind power to be stored in dedicated infrastructure when a surplus of energy is generated. This new North Sea grid will enable Belgian consumers to be supplied with green energy, even when there is no wind, Elia concluded.

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