Home: Autumn 2010 › The power of the wind
The power of the wind
01/10/2010 | Channel:
Manufacture, Renewable Energy
Based in Germany, the BARD Group of companies supply complete turnkey offshore wind farms
BARD’s wind farm solutions include the engineering and construction of all the necessary components, starting with internally developed steel foundations that are custom-made for the specific locations of the seabed, and ending with the rotor blades that are installed with a customised jack-up vessel. This means that the companies within the BARD Group now largely cover the entire value chain in the area of electricity production from offshore wind power.
The BARD Group includes BARD Engineering GmbH, which was founded in Bremen in September 2003 as a project development and investment company specialising in offshore wind farms. Its corporate objectives also include project acquisitions.
Another subsidiary of the group, BARD Emden Energy GmbH & Co. KG (BEE) has been manufacturing and assembling its own rotor blades, GRP components and complete offshore wind turbines in Emden since the end of 2006. BARD Tripile foundation structures for BARD offshore wind turbines went into series production at Cuxhaven Steel Construction GmbH (CSC) in mid-April 2008.
The group also includes BARD Building GmbH of Emden, which is responsible for installing the offshore wind farms, with ‘Wind Lift I’, the construction vessel, being used for installation and maintenance. Finally, BARD Service GmbH will guarantee the high availability of BARD wind turbines in the future. The Bremen, Emden and Cuxhaven sites employ more than 1000 people in total.
Heiko Ross is the managing director of BARD Holding GmbH, and he explained the background to the foundation of BARD.
“The company was founded in 2003 by Dr. Arngolt Bekker, and started off with the idea to become an IPP in the offshore wind business. Due to a lack of technical solutions for offshore wind in deep waters far from the coast, BARD developed its own solutions for these challenging areas. As the only company working offshore that is able to offer turnkey solutions for offshore wind power, we’re unique.”
Following the success of its first project BARD Offshore 1, the company is now working on a second wind farm called Veja Mate, as Heiko explains: “This project and also our Dutch offshore wind power stations are scheduled to start in the near future. BARD is currently working on the detailed planning of those projects that have a total of 200 wind turbines.”
He continued: “The first 40 wind turbines in the Veja Mate wind power station should be connected to the grid at the end of 2012. A total of 80 BARD 5.0 wind turbines will be installed in an area of 50 square kilometres in 39-41 metres of water. In the east, the wind farm borders the ‘BARD Offshore 1’ wind farm, which will be in operation by then.”
The BARD Offshore 1 project that Heiko refers too has proved an essential learning ground for its wind turbine technology: “We are gaining experience every day from this construction site. For example, here we successfully approached wind turbines with significant waves at 2.5 m with our SWATH-vessel Natalia Bekker,” he said.
This wind farm tender is more than 26 metres long, and was built at the Abeking & Rasmussen shipyard using what is called SWATH@A&R technology. SWATH stands for ‘small waterplane area twin hull’ and refers to the special design, which is less affected by swell. The actual hull of the vessel is joined by slender struts to two cigar-shaped tubes below the surface of the water, which provide drive, while reducing the lifting force of the waves. It means that BARD can transfer its service engineers to its wind turbines even in rough seas. Using the new vessel, it will be possible to transfer to the foundations in significant wave heights, and as a result, BARD will retain deployment capability even in bad weather, guaranteeing the high availability of its offshore wind power station.
To ensure that the operation team can be transferred safely, the bow has also been fitted with a special rubber fender, which will allow the vessel to press up against the ascent system on the wind turbine’s foundation. The Natalia Bekker will be permanently stationed at the wind farm, where a service team on an accommodation and transformer platform will be at the ready around the clock for maintenance and repairs.
Using technology such as the Natalia Bekker is very important to BARD, as Heiko confirmed: “Improvements on existing components and development of new components are important issues to us, as being cost competitive in the near and mid-term is one of the major objectives of the BARD Group. Therefore we’re always working on new areas – for example at the moment we are working on new drive train concepts, using our proven BARD 5.0 technology. With this new drive train technology we will operate the BARD 6.5 WTG at 6.5 MW rated power.”
In the short time since BARD has been established the company has already seen great success in the area of wind farms and it shows no signs of slowing down. Heiko is looking forward to a bright future in the European offshore wind business, as he concluded: “Over the next fives years I envision that BARD will successfully install further offshore wind power stations. Our total approach to offshore wind still sets the company apart in this industry, and I see no reason for us not to enjoy further success.”