Heerema’s Balder Takes Over Pile Installation at Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm

Heerema Marine Contractors’ semisubmersible crane vessel Balder has replaced Saipem 3000 at the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm in Scotland, taking over the installation of piles for the project’s jacket foundations.

Balder arrived at the project site in October to install the first ten jacket foundations and completed the work on 7 November, and moved on to piling operations the following day, according to the latest Notice to Mariners from the Neart na Gaoithe team.

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The vessel is installing three piles into pre-drilled sockets at each jacket foundation location, after which grout is inserted to secure them in place.

Pile installation support is being provided by the Skandi Acergy, with Normand Navigator transfering supporting materials and installation equipment between positions on the seabed adjacent to each foundation location. The supply vessel Rem Supporter is transporting piles to the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm, as required.

The piles will be installed at the remaining wind turbine and substation locations.

The 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe will comprise 54 Siemens Gamesa 8 MW wind turbines, with the first units planned to be operational in mid-2023.

The wind farm will also have two offshore substations, one of which is already installed.

The wind farm, jointly owned by EDF Renewables and ESB, is scheduled to be in operation in 2024, as of when it will supply enough electricity for around 375,000 homes each year.

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Photo: Balder vessel installing jacket foundations; Photo: Neart na Gaoithe