Nearshore Wind Farm to Be Dismantled

The wind turbines of the 16.8 MW Irene Vorrink nearshore wind farm, one of Vattenfall’s oldest wind farms in the Netherlands, will be dismantled after 25 years in operation.

Jorrit Lousberg/Vattenfall

The 28 wind turbines of the Irene Vorrink wind farm, named after the Dutch politician Irene Vorrink who passed away in 1996, are now in the water along the IJsselmeerdijk north of Lelystad.

In place of the current 28 wind turbines, Vattenfall and SwifterwinT will erect two rows of 12 wind turbines with a total capacity of 132 MW, located 500 and 1,500 metres further into the IJsselmeer. 14 wind turbines will be owned by Vattenfall and 10 by SwifterwinT.

The construction of much larger wind turbines so close to the dike is no longer permitted for reasons of dike safety, Vattenfall said, and it is therefore not possible to rebuild the turbines in the same location.

The 24 new wind turbines in the IJsselmeer are part of the Windplanblauw project, which is being jointly developed by Vattenfall and the SwifterwinT wind cooperative in the north-western corner of the Province of Flevoland.

The existing 74 onshore and offshore wind turbines will be replaced by 61 larger turbines with more power.

Windplanblauw is expected to be operational from 2023.

The dismantling of the wind turbines and the construction of the new wind farm will be supervised by Matthew Adam May, who works in Vattenfall’s Construction Management.

”Starting in early March, we will work on one wind turbine every day to prepare it for easy dismantling as much as possible,” May said.

”We first shut down the turbine and then remove as many bolts and electric cables as possible. All the turbines will be shut down by April, and then we will dismantle the various parts of the turbine from a barge on the water. That will be one per day if the weather cooperates.”

Once the rotor with the turbine blades, the nacelle, and the tower are removed, the bridge to the dike will also be dismantled. Eventually, there will only be a small part of the steel foundation (monopile) protruding above the water. Using special equipment, the monopile will be sawn from the inside two metres below the bottom of the IJsselmeer, and after this part is pulled out of the water, the rest of the monopile and the cabling will remain in the bottom of the IJsselmeer next to the dike.

”We would prefer to remove all parts of the wind turbines and leave the area in its original state, but this time the safety of the dike takes precedence,” May said.

Special vibration equipment is needed to remove the foundations, and Rijkswaterstaat and the Zuiderzeeland Water Board are afraid that the vibrations could cause damage to the dike. Also, the holes left after the foundations and cables are removed could lead to seepage, with water running underneath the dike and weakening it.

The turbines from the Irene Vorrink wind farm are too small and too old to be reused at another location, so all parts of the turbines will be recycled where possible.

”Many materials from the tower to the nacelle are relatively easy to recycle because they consist of steel, copper and other metals, as well as oils and plastics,” May said.

Recycling the turbine blades is a tricky process, but Vattenfall has committed to recycling them fully by 2030, the company said. May said that he already expects to be able to achieve this goal with the 84 dismantled turbine blades.

”We are in discussion with a few parties to have all the blades recycled into high-quality raw materials for completely new products,” May said.

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