After years of preparations, the first physical milestones of the Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm have now been achieved. In June, the new jetty in IJmuiden for transporting staff and small items to the wind farm during the construction and maintenance phase handed over to Vattenfall. Richard van der Kuijl, Vattenfall’s site manager in IJmuiden, was present at the opening. He coordinates the daily activities from the temporary offices next to the jetty in the port.
Vattenfall started installing the first foundations for Hollandse Kust Zuid on 5 July. During the construction period, Vattenfall staff will work from a temporary office building in the port of IJmuiden. Richard: “Together with my colleagues here at the office, we act as linking pins during the construction of the Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm. From here we arrange work permits, update plannings, and ensure that our colleagues can work safely. In addition, we also ensure good communication between the different teams involved in the construction. For example, there is a team that is working on the turbine and another team that is laying the cables. As construction management team we are in between and ensure that everyone can find each other.”
Solving any issues
As site manager, Richard is also responsible for the warehouse where smaller parts are stored – the large parts are shipped from the Maasvlakte – and planned and unplanned maintenance. “My work basically takes place behind the desk, but I do occasionally go offshore to see how people work at sea. And I’m in contact with, for example, the port authorities and the contractors. If there is an issue, they contact to me and I arrange it. Recently, for example, a certain type of paint was needed quickly on board the installation vessel. Then they ask me if I can arrange a crew transport vessel. In this way we ensure that everything runs smoothly and that the colleagues offshore can continue their work as soon as possible.”
Two weeks on two weeks off
Richard and his colleagues work long days in the port. Richard: “We work in two week shifts. This means that for two weeks I wake up at five o’clock and at half past five am on my way to the seaport. Luckily I live close by, so I can go to the office by bike. Then at six o’clock the preparation starts and everyone trickles in. The colleagues board the vessel to go offshore at seven o’clock. They come back around five o’clock and the working day ends at six o’clock. We do this seven days a week and then our colleagues take over and we’re off for two weeks.”
“Up to now we have mainly done preparatory work. For example, we ensured that this building was ready in time. But also that there are enough paint brushes, helmets and work clothes and that the life jackets are regularly checked. Now that construction has started, the work is becoming more operational as we are also responsible for planned and unplanned maintenance of the offshore foundations during the construction period. When construction is completed in the spring of 2023, we will hand over our work to colleagues from Operations & Maintenance (O&M), who are responsible for maintenance during the operational phase of the wind farm.”
The operations and maintenance will take place from a new maintenance hub that will be built this year on behalf of MSCY Vastgoed B.V., a real estate subsidiary of Zeehaven IJmuiden N.V., by contractor Friso Bouwgroep. This hub is expected to be completed in early 2022. However, Richard and his colleagues will continue to work from the temporary office and warehouse until the construction of Hollandse Kust Zuid is complete. “In the beginning these were 24 empty containers without internet or coffee machine, but now it is fully equipped and we have everything we need to do our jobs.”
“There is room for 24 people in the temporary office, but due to corona measures, we currently only work here with 8 people. In addition, there are currently four maintenance technicians who go to sea every day to do their work. Once more foundations have been installed, we will need more people. So it will also be busier at our office.” When the wind farm is fully operational, 25 permanent employees will start working in IJmuiden and up to 60 maintenance technicians. The arrival of Vattenfall in IJmuiden therefore creates a lot of employment opportunities.
According to Richard, all colleagues are excited about the project. “We are all very excited and proud to be building this wind farm. The first subsidy-free wind farm – and when completed – the largest in the world; it’s great to be able to work on that.”
Photo at the top: Vattenfall/Jorrit Lousberg