French autonomous robotics company iXblue has recently completed the bathymetric survey of the Saint Nazaire offshore wind farm using its DriX Uncrewed Surface Vehicle (USV).
Relying on 4G and satellite communication, the operation – located 20km off the West coast of France – was remotely conducted by the iXblue teams of surveyors from their Remote Control Center in La Ciotat, South-east of France.
The bathymetric survey inspection aimed to verify the seabed conditions before the deployment of Jan De Nul Group’s Vole au vent offshore jack-up Installation vessel.
"Despite challenging offshore conditions, with strong winds and side currents, as well as an obstructed site, with around 70 monopiles already installed and several construction vessels mobilized on site, iXblue DriX USV, fitted with a Kongsberg EM2040 MBES, efficiently acquired accurate and high-resolution bathymetric data. The DriX USV surveyed without the need of a support vessel, relying on its unique situational awareness and obstacle avoidance system," iXblue said. iXblue USV at an offshore wind farm - Credit: iXblue
"We are pleased to have proven, once again, that the deployment of autonomous platforms is the way to go to deliver safe, carbon-neutral and efficient offshore survey,” comments David Vincentelli, Head of iXblue Sea Operations division.
"From our experience deploying our DriX USV, we know that replacing traditional survey vessels with uncrewed platforms is key to delivering unmatched efficiency and data quality in complex environments such as offshore wind farms. We are very proud to be leading the way towards new remotely operated uncrewed operations, supporting our customers in this transition, and would like to thank Jan De Nul Group and EDF Renewables and its partner for their trust on this new project.”
The Saint-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm will produce 20% of the French Department Loire-Atlantique’s electricity consumption needs and will contribute to achieving the target of 40% renewable energy by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 in France.
Being developed by EDF Renouvelables and EIH S.à r.l, an indirect subsidiary of Enbridge Inc., and CPP Investments, the offshore wind farm will have a capacity of 480 MW, with the ability to power 20% of the Department Loire Atlantique.
The wind farm, located between 12 km and 20 km off the coast of the Guérande peninsula in western France, is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2022. Last month, Jan De Nul installed the first 80 units of 6 MW Wind Turbine Generators (WTG) at the wind farm.