The world is electrifying, and we are laying the cables

The world is electrifying, and we are laying the cables

A bicycle, a car, heating or even the operation of a gas plant. We are increasingly pulling the electric card, which increases demand worldwide. Nuclear and gas power plants get support from solar panels on land and wind turbines at sea. The result: our electricity supply is extremely fragmented. How do we get all that energy to as many users as possible? With an enormous network of export cables. Jan De Nul helps countries and companies to meet their electricity needs. Both in Europe, in Asia and in the Middle East.

The large-scale electrification of the world goes hand in hand with a boost in renewable energy. More and more coal-fired power stations are closing down and substantial investments are being made in offshore wind farms. This production of green energy will become even more important in the coming years. To meet the high demand for electricity, not only the number of offshore wind farms is increasing, also the dimensions of foundations and turbines are rising rapidly. Within a time span of five years, the physical dimensions doubled and production capacity increased fivefold. An evolution that Jan De Nul already anticipated correctly in 2019 by ordering two giant offshore installation vessels, the Voltaire and Les Alizés. These vessels are ready to install the offshore wind farms of the future.          

The objective is clear: to make electricity more widely available. This requires interconnectivity. With cables we can connect offshore structures, possibly from different countries, to each other or to the electricity grid. But a large cable network also offers solutions to cope with peaks and troughs in electricity production. In the event of overproduction, electricity can be diverted to other areas where there is greater demand at that time. That electricity runs through cables on land, and increasingly across the sea. Complex projects in which the cable-laying vessels of Jan De Nul can demonstrate their expertise.

Partner in electrification
Today, electricity is produced at various locations. This requires a substantial reinforcement and adaptation of existing electricity networks. And to get the electricity from offshore wind farms to land, the cable networks must be able to connect perfectly to the national grids as they all work with their own grid codes and specifications. Using a state-of-the-art network of cables, we can provide the right connection.
European companies such as Jan De Nul perform activities that increase the availability of electricity. 

Dredging, rock installation and cable-laying works or the construction of offshore wind farms. All over the world, we are helping to build the world of tomorrow. And that's something we also want to prepare our employees for. Every wind turbine is connected to the cable network via the transition piece (TP), which is part of the foundation. In order to carry out such complex cable installation works safely and efficiently, we provide our employees with training sessions using a TP simulator. With this, we want to further expand our expertise in designing foundations and installing cables.

This article is an extract from the 2021 activity report.