Bokalift 1 has been deployed on the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind project in France, where drilling tests are now taking place and will continue throughout September.
Ailes Marines, the developer of the 496 MW offshore wind farm, said via social media that the vessel was chartered by Van Oord and the drilling testing campaign began following an agreement with the Prefect of the Côtes d’Armor and the Maritime Prefect.
Boskalis’ vessel, which was converted from a Finesse type II heavy transport vessel to a self-propelled DP2 crane vessel in 2018, will carry out drilling tests on three wind turbine locations to help Ailes Marines validate that drilling can take place at the site and that noise impacts on fish species and marine mammals could be minimised.
The campaign is part of Ailes Marines’ aim to identify solutions with low impact on the environment, with the current tests being conducted with a goal to replace pile-driving with drilling operations as much as possible, according to the developer’s latest posts on social media.
The Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm, located around 16 kilometres off the coast of Brittany, will comprise 62 Siemens Gamesa 8 MW wind turbines which are expected to be put into operation in 2023.
The construction of the 496 MW wind farm is scheduled to begin next year.
Van Oord, which chartered the Bokalift 1 vessel for the drilling tests, revealed in April that it had signed a preparatory works agreement with Iberdrola for the installation of 62 jacket foundations at the Saint-Brieuc site, with the construction of a subsea drilling template already underway at the time.
The Spanish consortium of Navantia and Windar Renovables will manufacture and deliver the jacket foundations for the project.
Iberdrola is the sole owner and developer of the wind farm after acquiring the remaining 30 per cent stake in the Ailes Marines consortium from Avel Vor (RES and Caisse des Dépôts) at the beginning of this year.