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Transforming a 60-metre blade into 17-metre ground length

Technology
Typography

There is a growing trend in the international wind industry: The technological evolution of wind turbines is moving towards machines with larger rotors to better capture wind at low wind sites. France is fully participating in this movement. At the Lussac-Les-Églises wind farm Senvion completed the installation of six 3.0M122 wind turbines with rotor diameters of 122 meters, as large as the diameter of the famous Ferris wheel “London Eye”.

The wind farm, developed by Quadran Groupe Direct Energie, is located in the French department of Haute Vienne. Guirec Dufour, Construction Director at Quadran states: "Lussac-Les-Églises is a low wind site and the wind turbine 3.0M122, capturing the most energy, allows us to optimize the yield of our project. However the challenge was the transportation of the blades to the site. The Blade Lifter solution, proposed by Senvion, made this project possible.”

Each blade is measured at 60 meters and weighs 15 tons. The blades were transported over a distance of 200 kilometers, from the port of La Rochelle to Poitiers, where a transshipment area was used to equip the Blade Lifter. From there the transport went on the challenging route to Lussac-Les-Églises.

Florian Dufresne, Senvion Europe South West Logistics Coordinator explains: "The only possible route for the convoy was to cross the village of Lussac-Les-Églises. However, the total length of the semi-trailer carrying the blade, is 66 meters. With such a ground length, it is impossible to turn in the many tight corners of the village. Facing this challenge, we opted for an innovative solution: The Blade Lifter. By lifting the blade to a 30 degrees angle, the ground length could be reduced to 17 meters, which allowed the safe passage of the convoy."

Technically, the Blade Lifter can lift the blade to 50 degree angles for the passage of even longer blades. The residents of the town were impressed by the technical prowess of this equipment. Guirec Dufour adds: “Thanks to a close collaboration between the Quadran and Senvion teams, the particularities related to the use of the Blade Lifter - transshipment location, moving telecommunications and power lines, pruning - were efficiently managed. This good collaboration limited the impact of the oversized transportation on the village residents and made the commissioning of the wind farm possible without any delay.”

Installing a 122-meter rotor at 89 meters height was also a challenge. The excellent coordination of the teams, a precise planning, while integrating the environment constraints and the uncertainties of the weather conditions, were essential to successfully install the six wind turbines with such a large dimension. Samson Lecluyse, Senvion Europe South-West Project Manager states: "The construction of the Lussac-Les-Eglises wind farm was an exciting project. The complexity for this wind farm lies in the environment with high wooded obstacles, which is close to the lifting zones. Due to the very large dimension of the components, the Senvion team had to prepare the ground with a maximum of rigor and precision so that the project is realized within the deadlines defined in the planning."

The Senvion team is proud to have met all the delivery and installation challenges of this project. The Lussac-Les-Églises wind farm, with a total capacity of 15 megawatts (MW) was commissioned beginning of November 2017. It will produce enough electricity to power nearly 15,000 people (including heating) in France.

Senvion is now ready to meet other challenges, including the transport of wind turbines with even longer blades: the newly announced Senvion turbine 3.7M144 EBC has blades over 70 meters long!

Courtesy Senvion