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Dong Energy decommissions world’s oldest offshore windfarm

Wed 15 Mar 2017 by David Foxwell

Dong Energy decommissions world’s oldest offshore windfarm
Decommissioning work is getting under way on Vindeby, the world’s first offshore windfarm

Contractors working for Dong Energy have begun decommissioning Vindeby, the world’s first offshore windfarm.

Vindeby was built 25 years ago close to shore in the shallow waters off Vindeby, near Lolland in the southeast of Denmark. It consisted of 11 wind turbines and was connected to the grid in 1991.

Even though the windfarm is now being decommissioned, and even though the Vindeby turbines are small compared to current standards, they have been of vital importance for the industry, according to Leif Winther, who is responsible for Dong Energy’s Danish offshore windfarms.

“Vindeby is tiny in comparison with the giant projects which are now being realised in northern Europe. But without the experience gained from it we wouldn't be where we are today. It’s fair to say that Vindeby is the cradle of the offshore wind industry, and that this is where the industry was born,” said Mr Winther.

When the turbines at Vindeby were installed in 1991 they were lifted into place in one piece, but when decommissioning started this month the blades, nacelle and tower were dismantled and taken down individually by a crane on a jack-up vessel. The concrete foundations will be broken down on site and the material retrieved.

All of the components of the turbine and foundations will be taken ashore to Nyborg Harbour where they will be reused where possible. Some of the blades will become part of a research project at DTU Risø; others will be reused. One wind turbine will also become part of the exhibition at Energimuseet, the Danish Museum of Energy. Components that are not reusable will be transported to a certified recovery company.

The turbines for Vindeby were supplied by Bonus Energi, now Siemens Wind Power, and the foundations were produced by MT Højgaard.