ABB connects Thornton Bank offshore wind farm to Belgian grid

Switzerland-based company ABB has connected the 325MW Thornton Bank offshore wind farm project to the Belgian grid by commissioning a subsea transmission link.

Executed for C-Power, ABB was responsible for system engineering, design, supply and commissioning of the alternating current (AC) subsea cables, the land-based cable systems, the offshore substation and an offshore transformer station, which collects and transmits electricity to the Belgian coast, located 30km offshore in the North Sea.

As part of the transmission project, which was commissioned as part of the third phase of Thornton Bank, wind turbines were connected through underwater medium-voltage cables to the offshore transformer station, which will increase the voltage to 150kV and integrated to the mainland grid at the Slijkens high-voltage substation at Bredene, located about 3km inland.

Thornton Bank was constructed in three phases: Phase 1, which was commissioned in 2009, is comprised of six 5MW turbines, which are placed on gravity-based foundations; Phase 2, which was completed early this year, consists of 24 turbines of 6MW each placed on jacket foundations; Phase 3, the extension phase, also consists of 24 turbines of 6MW each installed on jacket foundations.

Once up and running, Thornton Bank’s annual electricity production will be 1,000GWh, which is enough to power about 300,000 Belgian households.

The plant will account for about 7% of the Belgian 2020 renewable energy target and curb 415,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

ABB Power Systems division head Brice Koch said that the company, together with C-Power, has executed the grid connection of the project and such projects are key focus for the Europe as it is striving to balance the need for electricity with minimizing environmental impact.