Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

TFliner XL

It is possible to install an offshore wind-turbine without the use of a sophisticated but expensive self-lifting sea-jack ship, like the Aeolus (see video at the bottom of this post). During installation the ship is held in place with the DP-2 dynamic positioning system.

[] – Dynamic positioning

Fourfold functionality TFliner XL for offshore wind turbine installations:

1. installing monopile foundation
2. installing transition pieces
3. installing jacket type foundations
4. reel-lay spread

The ship can handle 75 m monopiles of max. 900 ton, jacket type foundations of 600 ton and transition pieces of 300 ton.

[] – TFliner XL data sheet

Suction Bucket Foundation Offshore Wind Turbines

Advantages 8 m deep suction buckets over 25-30 m deep hammered monopiles: no noise, easier to decommission. Suitable for water depths of 30-60 m and larger wind-turbines like 10 MW.

Suction caissons (also referred to as suction anchors, suction piles or suction buckets) are a new form of fixed platform anchor that have a number of advantages over conventional offshore foundations, mainly being quicker to install than deep foundation piles and being easier to remove during decommissioning. Suction caissons are now used extensively worldwide for anchoring large offshore installations, like oil platforms, offshore drillings and accommodation platforms to the seafloor at great depths. In recent years suction caissons also see usage for offshore wind turbines in more shallow waters.

[] – how the ‘suction bucket’ technique works (Guardian)

[] – Suction caisson

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Bloomberg – Peak CO2 Emission from Power Generation in 2026

CO2 emissions from power generation will peak in 2026, and be 4% lower in 2040 than they were last year, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Much of this will be due to “unstoppable” renewable energy sources undercutting the majority of existing fossil fuel power stations, with the cost of solar dropping 66% by 2040, and onshore wind by 47%.

[] – Global CO2 emissions to peak in 2026
[] – Energie uit zon en wind groeit veel sneller dan verwacht

Lagerwey Wind Turbines

The Netherlands has a rich tradition in exploiting wind energy, reaching back to the 17th century. However in modern times no Dutch big names operate in the wind energy sector. This probably has to do with the huge natural gas reserves that were discovered in the sixties and of course with the presence of Royal Dutch Shell. But smaller wind turbine builders do exist in the Netherlands: Lagerwey.

[] – Lagerwey
[] – L136-4.0-4.5MW
[] – Russia’s Rosatom links with Lagerwey for 610MW of wind
[] – Russen kopen Nederlandse windmolens

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Renault Twizy

Weight: 450 kg
Range: 100 km
Speed: 80 kmh
Motor: electric, no gears
Battery: 6.1 kWh
Charge time: 3.5 hour

So with an electricity price of 25 euro cent, you can travel 100 km for 1.50 euro.

[] – Renault Twizy

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Sea Water Green Houses in the Desert

[] – Seawater greenhouse
[] – Company site

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Towing Icebergs to the Emirates for Drinking Water

The Middle East is home to 70% of the world’s desalinization capacity, since there are no natural water sources worth mentioning in the Gulf. A company from the United Arab Emirates has launched a plan to tow icebergs from Heard Island near Antarctica to the Gulf (Heard Island –> Fujairah, distance 8833 km/5488 miles). [Google Maps]

[] – Heard Island and McDonald Islands
[] – Heard Island, pictures
[] – Current weather Heard Island

Is this a good idea?

In order to answer that question one has to compare the cost of desalinating a liter of water and the cost of transporting a liter of ice water from the South Pole.

Cost desalinization: 3 kWh/m3

[] – Desalination

Now transport. The idea is to tow icebergs, but it needs to be realized that icebergs have 90% of their volume under water, resulting in a lot drag, drag that can be avoided by transporting the ice as water in a stream-lined oil tanker. The idea was to tow the iceberg to the Gulf (losing valuable water during the trip, due to melting) and break it up there. But if you have to break it up anyway, why not doing that at Heard Island, melt it there and transport it as water in oil tankers to the Gulf?

So what’s the cost of transporting 1 m3 of pure water per km?

[] – Freight Transportation Modal Shares: Scenarios for a Low-Carbon Future

On page 2: 0.5 BTU per ton-mile or 0.00023592296 kwh per ton-km.
The distance to be bridged is 8833 km, which results in 2.1 kWh/m3, ignoring the energy cost of the empty ship sailing back to Heard Island.

So according to this back-on-an-envelope calculation there is indeed some energy gains to be made by transporting rather than desalinize, but it is not spectacular (merely 2.1 over 3 kWh/m3). And there are several parameters that could tilt the balance to either of these options.

The Gulf region has abundant solar irradiation and a lot of otherwise useless desert, that can be used to build huge solar parks, delivering low cost solar energy, that be be used for desalinization.
On the other hand, the oil-tanker, or water-tanker rather, can be equipped with huge sails to save on fossil fuel.

Tentative conclusion: yes transporting ice-water from the Antarctic could compete with local desalinization of sea water, but it is difficult to identify which method will prevail in the end. Technology will decide.

[] – Peak salt: is the desalination dream over for the Gulf states?

[] – Filling the Empty Quarter: Declaring a Green Jihad On the Desert

There is nothing against towing icebergs to Dubai. It is a matter of offsetting the towing costs against the cost of desalinization. The Middle East has 70% of the world’s desalinization capacity.

Sif Awarded Trianel Windpark Borkum II Monopile Contract

Sif Group in Roermond, the Netherlands, has been awarded to deliver all required 32 monopiles of 1,000 ton each, carrying 6.2M152 turbines. The new windpark Borkum-II will be located in the German sector of the North Sea and will have a nameplate power of 203 MW.

1 monopile: think 1200 cars worth of steel.

[] – Sif-Smulders Team Bags Trianel Windpark Borkum II Contract
[] – Sif to Build Trianel Windpark Borkum II Monopiles
[] – Trianel Windpark Borkum
[] – Company site

Sif Group is expanding its offshore activities from Roermond in the East of the country to the newly build reclaimed land Maasvlakte.

Read more…

Report – Upbeat Assessment European Offshore Wind

Estimated cumulative national installed offshore wind capacity by 2030

An new report titled “Unleashing Europe’s offshore wind potential” by London-based renewable energy consultancy BVG Associates paints an optimistic picture for the European offshore wind sector. Currently we have 12.6 GW installed in shallow European waters. By 2030 the offshore wind share to the EU electricity production could be 7-11%, which constitutes merely a fraction of the true potential of three European bassins: the Baltic, North Sea and Atlantic from France to the north of the UK.

Three offshore wind basins considered

Key findings for offshore wind:

  • Between 2,600 and 6,000 TWh/year can be generated at a cost of €65/MWh or below, corresponding with between 80% and 180% of Europe’s electricity demand with 2030 technology.
  • Of that amount 25% of the EU’s electricity demand could be met at an average of €54/MWh in the most favorable locations.
  • The industry has achieved unprecedented levels of competitiveness through rapid progress in technology, industrial growth and a reduction in the cost of capital.

LCOE (levelized cost of energy)

[] – Company site

The 64p pdf report, free download in return for your email address:

How it Works: Geothermal Electricity

[] – Geothermal energy

Africas Largest Hydro-power Plant Being Built in Ethiopia

Power: 6 GW
Cost: $6.4 billion
River: Blue Nile
Height: 175 meter
Width: 1800 meter
Elevation at crest: 645 meter
Dam volume: 10 million m3
Storage volume: 79×10E9 m3
Size lake: 1561 km2
Turbines: 16 x 375 MW Francis turbines
Purpose: turn Ethiopia in a “medium income country”
Contractors: Salini Costruttori (Italy) and Alstom (France)
Commission date: July 2017

[] – Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
[Google Maps] – Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

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The World’s Smallest Hydropower Plant

[] – Company site

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Dlouhé Stráně Hydro-Electric Powerstation

[] – Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power Plant
[Google Maps] – Dlouhé Stráně, Czech Republic

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Floating Wind Turbines

For shallow waters like in the North Sea, fixed monopile-based wind turbines are preferred. But for deeper waters this option doesn’t exist. Nevertheless there are very lucrative wind locations, for instance between Britain and Norway or West of Ireland in the Atlantic and that’s just Europe. With floating wind turbines these wind resources can be utilized as well.

Currently many floating wind turbine projects are in the pipeline:

Floating Wind Projects

Project name Capacity Country Expected commissioning date
Hywind Scotland 30 MW Scotland 2017
Kincardine 48 MW Scotland From 2018
Dounreay Tri 2 x 5 MW Scotland 2018
WindFloat Atlantic 30 MW Portugal 2018-2019
French pre-commercial farms 4 x 25 MW France 2020
Atlantis/Ideol project 100 MW UK 2021
Gaelectic 30 MW Ireland 2021

[] – European Floating Offshore Wind Ready For The Big Time

[] – Electrifying the future
[] – Floating Offshore Wind Vision Statement (pdf, June 2017)
[] – Floating wind turbine

Building Onshore Wind Turbine Foundations

[] – Peikko Group

Veja Mate Offshore Wind Farm Installation

[] – Veja Mate Offshore Wind Farm (402 MW)

Unconventional Pumped Hydro Storage

Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station, Ozarks, Missouri, USA

[] – List of pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations
[] – Pumped-storage hydroelectricity

[] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station
[] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station
[Google Maps] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station

Building an adequate energy storage system is one of the central challenges of the renewable energy transition. Pumped hydro storage is a very important option. Most people associate this with a dam in a valley behind which water can be pumped upwards in times of excess renewable energy available, in order for it to be released later, when the electricity is required.

But there are more options. One of them is building a large reservoir on top of mountain. Another one, attractive for the flatlanders, is building a high dike in the sea.

Loucna nad Desnou, Czech Republic.

Elevation: 510 m (highest in Europe),
Reservoirs: 2.7 million m3 (higher) and 3.4 million m3 (lower)
Pump-generators: 2 x 325 MW

[] – Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power Plant
[Google Maps] – Přečerpávací vodní elektrárna Dlouhé stráně
[] – Panoramic view. Note the lower reservoir.

Cortes-la Muela Powerplant, Valencia, Spain

More than 2 GW, generating 5,000 GWh/year.

[] – La Muela pumped-storage plant
[Google Maps] – Cortes-la Muela Powerplant

[source] So-called Plan Lievense, dating from 1981. With the massive Dutch multi-GW wind power plans for the North Sea, to be realized before 2023, some form of energy storage is inevitable. One of the options is building dike structure that allow for fluctuating water levels of up to 40 meter.

Design consists of a closed ring-shaped dike of ca. 6 x 10 km. Water levels will very from 32 to 40 meter under the water level of the surrounding North Sea. Lake surface area: ca. 40 km2. Storage capacity is more than 20 GWh (value 5 million euro consumer end price of 25 cent/kWh), sufficient to produce 1,500 MW during at least 12 hours to the national grid. this plan could be profitable from 9 GW wind offshore wind power, expected after 2020..

[] – Energie-eiland in de Noordzee
[] – Plan Lievense

Plan Brouwersmeer near the coast of the Zeeland province, an implementation of the Plan Lievense.

[Google Maps] – Brouwersmeer

Planning stage – energy island near Belgian coast

[deepresource] – Pumped Hydro Storage

The World’s First Electric Car

1:1 replica of the 1835 original, created at the time by prof. Sibrandus Stratingh of the university of Groningen in the Netherlands.

[] – Na 178 jaar lonkt het succes

“Coal is Dead and Oil is Heading for Peak Demand”


That’s not us saying so, but the world’s largest investment group BlackRock. These people are not particularly concerned with depleting resources, deteriorating environment or climate change, but in hard money only.

BlackRock, the world’s largest investment group, with $5 trillion in assets — more than the world’s largest banks — has begun to bet on clean energy. Why? “The thing that has changed fundamentally the whole picture is that renewables have gotten so cheap,” said [Jim] Barry.

President Trump is betting on reviving America’s coal industry, but BlackRock considers that to be a mistake.

The economic reality is that cheap fracked gas and plummeting prices for clean energy has squeezed both coal production and coal consumption to levels not seen for decades…
Because of the rapidly improving performance and cost of batteries, Barry is “bullish” on electric vehicles. And as a result, he is bearish on oil demand, noting that “there was always this historic view on oil about peak supply but it’s about peak demand being an equal dynamic.”

[] – ‘Coal is dead’ and oil faces ‘peak demand,’ says world’s largest investment group
[] – BlackRock

Global Offshore Wind Speeds Ranking


Global data resource with more than 1,000 offshore locations that could be used for building wind farms. The data set is ordered after average wind speed. Every location links to information about the status of the wind farm, if any.

Spoiler: best location is Taiwan Strait.

[] – Global Offshore Wind Speeds Rankings

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