Alstom 6MW loading underway

All the components to make up the 6MW Alstom Haliade 150 wind turbine set to be installed on the Belwind 1 development off Belgium will be onboard the project’s installation vessel, Fred Olsen Windcarrier’s Bold Tern, by the end of the week.

The three tower sections of the turbine, being loaded up at the port of Ostend, were lifted on yesterday, to be followed by the machine’s 400-tonne nacelle and 73.5-metre-long LM blades, according to an Alstom spokeswoman.

The installation, 45km offshore, should close a long chapter in the Haliade’s development.

The manufacturer had originally hoped to have the turbine in the sea off Belgium by the end of last year. That slipped to April and then July, before the scheduling of the latest attempt.

The current schedule will see the turbine commissioned by the end of this month.

Built at Alstom's St Nazaire fabrication yard on the Loire Estuary in Brittany, the 1,500-tonne Haliade, whose 150-metre-diameter rotor carves out a swept area of 17,860 square metres, is being trialled atop a 25-metre-tall four-legged steel jacket.

The turbine, which will feature a novel electromechanical layout marrying Alstom’s PureTorque “load-deflecting” rotor-support technology with a compact Advance High Density direct-drive permanent-magnet generator from GE-owned outfit Converteam, was due to be in pre-commercial series production this year.

Onshore tests performed since March 2012 on the machine have provided “extensive” data collection on the power curve which proves-up the technical specifications and “correlates extremely well” with the design models of the turbine, says Alstom.

A consortium led by EDF Energies Nouvelles and Dong Energy, with Alstom as its industrial partner, has €2bn ($2.45bn) plans for the three French offshore zones it won in April 2012, giving it a total capacity of 1.43GW.

Alstom is also signed up to supply a Haliade for the UK Energy Technology Institute's floating tension-leg platform demonstrator, to be installed off southwest England.