The Paris office of LOC Renewables, a part of LOC Group, the leading international marine and engineering consultancy, has been contracted by the Belgian transmission system operator, Elia, to provide Marine Warranty Survey (MWS) services for the pioneering Modular Offshore Grid (MOG) project, located 40km off the Belgian coast in the North Sea. The agreement will see LOC provide support during the construction and installation of the Offshore Switchyard (OSY) platform and the submarine cables that will serve it.

The contract win follows a previous agreement between LOC Renewables, Elia and the National Grid UK, as part of which the engineer is providing MWS services for the installation of the Nemo link, the HVDC submarine transmission cable linking Belgium and the UK.

The new MOG project, with its central OSY platform, will connect four planned wind farms: Rentel, Northwester 2, Mermaid and SeaStar, enabling them to supply electricity directly to the Belgian national electricity grid. It is anticipated that the project could also provide an initial foundation for the future development of an extensive North Sea grid, with the potential to interconnect the electricity supplies of neighboring countries.

Construction of the OSY offshore platform, a grounded, 4-leg substructure housing a 220kV Gas Insulated Switchgear, started in 2018. Initial work on installing the submarine cable connections will commence in 2019, including a 220kV AC cable linking the OSY and the Rentel wind farm, and two more identical cables linking the OSY to the Stevin substation on Zeebrugge beach.

LOC Renewables’ Paris office began carrying out MWS services in January 2018 and will continue in 2020. The work will be completed in three phases: first, an engineering and procedural review; followed by an assessment of vessel suitability; and, finally, site approval of the critical marine operation for load out, transportation and installation of the OSY platform and submarine cables. The newly built DP3 cable installation vessel ‘Living Stone’ will be leading the cable laying campaign, while the offshore lifting of the OSY platform is to be completed by ‘Oleg Strashnov’, a DP3 vessel with a 5,000 tonne crane capacity.

“In providing a foundation for the expansion of offshore capacity in Belgian waters, the MOG will play an important role in the reliable supply of renewable electricity into the grid for years to come,” commented Hugues Delanoue, Managing Director of LOC Paris. “We are delighted to be contributing our expertise, particularly in heavy lifting, cabling and construction, to this pioneering project.”