European project cargo case studies: UK renewable energy

By 2030, the EU is aiming at 32% of all its energy requirements coming from renewable sources.

This Pan-European drive to boost sustainable power generation is proving to be a big boon for project cargo players.

Contracts to move the oversized components required to complete these enormous undertakings are being handed out in abundance. 

Here, we examine some renewable energy case studies, mostly wind (the most popular renewable sector in Europe right now), to show how top transporters are tackling the unique challenges these projects represent.

Renewable energy case studies from across Europe

ALE & Conbit Collaborate on Hornsea Project One components 

Hornsea Project One is the first phase of what is the largest wind farm project in the world. Located off the Yorkshire Coast in the British North Sea, Hornsea One will produce 1.2 GW of electricity once operations kick off in 2020, enough to supply over a million homes.

174 7 MW turbines, each soaring 190m into the sky, are currently being installed in area spanning 407 square kilometres, i.e. larger than the city of Hull.
As you can expect, outfitting Hornsea one requires a herculean effort. Project owners Ørsted has turned to a range of heavy-lift and project cargo specialists to move the big stuff on this huge wind power project. 

ALE and its subsidiary Conbit  have been responsible for marine transport, sea-fastening, load-out and blasting for over 100 transition pieces (TPS) for Hornsea One. 

“This project demonstrates our ability to offer the full, specialist marine scope of work,” Steve Small, ALE Commercial Manager, explains. “From utilising our internal expertise and engineering unique solutions, to offering an extensive fleet and operative skills, we can manage the complete project.”

ALE was contracted by Ørsted’s chosen EPC GeoSea to provide to provide the specialist offshore engineering and transportation methods.

For the structural engineering, the Conbit team performed the structural integrity and sea fastening calculations of the grillages on the barge deck of the SARAH S barge – ALE’s latest marine investment.

For the storage at the quay, Conbit designed monopile cradles. These were specifically optimised to reduce costs, as the need for welding works is reduced.

Hornsea One is now over the halfway stage, thanks to the services provide by the likes of ALE.

ALS moves components to Hornsea One

UK-based ALS has also snagged work on Hornsea One, thanks to the sheer size and scope of the development. 

In this instance, ALS was involved in chartering a coaster vessel to move 12 heavy steel constructions. These grillages, weighing in at a collective 240 tons, were loaded onto ALS’ ship at the port of Szczecin, Poland, prior to delivery and unloading in the Netherlands. ALS did not specify which Dutch port they called into on this project.

ALS covered loading, transport, and unloading of these key components. 

Collett & Sons expands contract portfolio thanks to UK wind projects

Collett & Sons, and its road transport expertise, has become indispensable when it comes to keeping the UK’s onshore wind projects rolling.

Over the past couple of years, Collet trucks have been spotted moving wind-related equipment and components across the length and breadth of the UK. 

Of course, the nature of wind farms, especially onshore sites, means they’re in wild, remote locations. Transporting the out-of-gauge loads to these areas presents some tough obstacles to overcome.

For instance, at Dorenell Windfarm in the Scottish Highlands, 80 miles needed to be covered to get 531 differing components for 59 turbines to the pad site. Turbines, nacelles and other bits of kit were sourced from overseas, including Spain, Italy and Denmark, to the Port of Inverness.

Collett had to survey the route, working closely with local authorities like Moray & Aberdeenshire Councils, Scotland Transerv, Network Rail, and the Canal & River Trust, to get valuable insight into particular pain points. 

Several modifications were made, including road widening, tree surgery, contraflow measures, street furniture removal, and structural stability restrictions. 

Then there was choosing the right vehicles for this project. A specialised task such as this required specialised equipment. Collett delved into its fleet to pull out three clamp trailers, six blade trailers, and two 6-axle step frames, plus other trucks and transporters, to complete the move. 

Up for delivery was several 44 metre blades, plus 72-ton nacelles, nose cones, and top, middle and bottom turbine sections.
Starting in May 2019, this was a six-month long project, capping off in November 2019. Dorenell windfarm now has officially opened, pumping out green, sustainable power from the 59 installed 3 MW turbines. In fact, this is now project owner EDF Renewable’s largest European windfarm, providing power for 106,000 homes across Scotland.

Other wind project Collett has been involved in include the now-operational Clocaenog Forest onshore site in North Wales, and another Scottish project, Kype Muir in the lowlands.

Renewables projects in other areas of Europe

While the UK is a market bellwether for wind, it is far from the only renewables hotspot in Europe. The continent is proving an import hub for machinery and components for clean energy generation.

For instance, Protranser International Logistics has been busy delivering 12 36-piece turbine blade loads to European ports from a factory in Northern China.

And even in markets dominated by oil & gas development, renewable projects are generating increased cargo demand. 

In Russia, a nation reliant on hydrocarbons for the bulk of its energy needs, there is a pivot towards cleaner energy. For continental transporters, this is proving good news.

Barrus Projects is certainly reaping the benefit of increased Russian onshore wind activity. The carrier has been delivery nacelles for two Russian windfarms, Kamensko-Karsnosulinskaya and Gukovo, in the Rostov region. This included utilisation of a ferry for river transport when delivering nacelles from the factory to both project sites.

Find renewable energy cargo contracts at Breakbulk Europe

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Whether you’re a carrier, cargo owner, freight forwarder, equipment supplier or involved in heavy lift and project cargo, you’ll find your latest contract or project partner here.

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