“What is more self-evident than a row of wind turbines following the line of a storm surge barrier? Simple, bold and elegant!” Such were the initial considerations of the Atelier Rijksbouwmeester (government architect’s atelier) for the wind park on the barrier island of Neeltje Jans. However, numerous obstacles presented themselves quickly, such as the Bird and Habitat Directive, shipping radar restrictions and the limitations posed by the storm surge barrier itself and its protection zone.
As a whole, these limitations seemed to present themselves as a knot that can’t be untied. Opportunities for placing the wind turbines simply appeared to be extremely limited, especially if the result was to be spatially satisfactory. This did not hold BoschSlabbers back. Of course we took the challenge the province of Zeeland set. Because, after all, if Neeltje Jans can’t be a location for a windfarm, which location can?
Wind park Neeltje Jans has an extraordinary setting, in every way. Mostly because of the wind park’s synergy with the high-tech Oosterschelde barrier, an international icon of innovation. It is rare for wind turbines to match their surroundings, in both look, size and scale, as well as they do here, at the Oosterschelde barrier.
In contrast with other windfarms, the majority of visitors do not perceive the Neeltje Jans wind park from an abundance of viewpoints, but from a set route: the barrier road. Wind park Neeltje Jans was designed with the singular experience of moving across the barrier in mind. Between the Oosterschelde and the North Sea, the barrier runs in a fluid line, on top of which the barrier road rises and falls. The wind turbines seek to further enhance the already special journey across the barrier, and to reinforce the dynamism and innovative character of the place.
– odesigner Rosie Brader, BoschSlabbers
First of all, a model study of five promising alternatives was carried out. Next, the problem of construction costs came up. The expenses of positioning the turbines in water are much higher than placement on, for example, the longitudinal dikes of the barrier. In the end, a final model was designed, existing of a series of four quadrants, to be experienced separately and constructed in sequence along the barrier islands of Neeltje Jans and Roggenplaat.
Positioning is based on analysis of the shifting lines of sight and movement of silhouettes. The wind turbines have been placed in a number of quadrants along the barrier, and as you move across the barrier, these quadrants seem to shift their position. One moment, the turbines appear on your left-hand side, then at your right-hand side, and then suddenly, you find yourself in the midst of them. This wilfulness focuses attention on the long line of the barrier.
In 2012, 75% of the project was realised. The quadrant blocks on the Roggenplaat, Neeltje Jans and the Roompotsluis were fitted with 3 MW turbines. All smaller, first generation turbines that were placed along the barrier in the past were removed. The fourth quadrant, around the Mattenhaven, was not realised. Here, the booming developments in wind energy led to the decision to construct a larger block of nine 6MW turbines around the Building Docks.
BoschSlabbers also collaborated in other wind energy projects, such as wind park Krammer and wind park A16.
Title: Wind turbines Neeltje Jans
Location: Neeltje Jans, Zeeland, NL
Size: 285 ha, 48 MW
Client: the Province of Zeeland
Duration: Design 2004-2009, realisation 2007-2012
Type: vision, design plan
Image credits: BoschSlabbers, Rijkswaterstaat
Project code: ZL 04-06