STX France Saint-Nazaire, world famous for its cruise liners, is diversifying into marine renewable energy, specifically substations for offshore windfarms.
Two substations are currently under construction. Project Q34, just begun, is a 309-MW substation (topside, foundation and piles) ordered by the Otary consortium for Belgium’s Rentel windfarm which will comprise forty-two 7-MW Siemens turbines. Project P34, is more advanced. This huge 385-MW substation, among the biggest in the world, is for the Arkona windfarm, comprising sixty 6-MW turbines, being developed by German power utility E.ON and Norwegian group Statoil. The P34 topside will weigh 4,000t, compared with 1,200t for Q34. Both substations are scheduled for delivery in 2018.
The Q34 substation (© STX France)
Q34 and P34 are being built at the Anemos complex, opened by STX France in 2015 and recently extended to accommodate a growing workload. This 12,000sq.m facility was purpose-built to produce heavy structures for MRE projects.
The fabrication shop is 35m wide by 16m high and was recently extended from 90 to 120m in length. With two 60t gantry cranes, it is used primarily to fabricate topside blocks. Work then moves to a 6,000sq.m assembly & outfitting area located between the fabrication shop and the paint hall which is 50m long, 35m wide and 25m high and among the biggest of its type in Europe. The paint hall’s controlled atmosphere is maintained at a steady 18°C and 55% RH. Topside blocks are transferred one at a time from the fabrication shop to the assembly & outfitting area, then to the paint hall. Substation P34 comprises three blocks. The first was in the paint hall when we visited. Each structure is shot blasted before receiving successive protective coatings.
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