Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “April, 2021”

Citizen Renewable Energy

It’s possible to have energy without big government or big corporations.

A film about the citizen-led community-energy movement in Europe and the visionaries lighting the way.

Imagine upending the traditional energy system and giving the power of clean electricity production back to your neighbors. We the Power follows friends, families and visionaries as they break down legislative barriers and take power back from big energy companies to put it in the hands of locals and strengthen their towns. The film chronicles local cooperatives from deep in Germany’s Black Forest to the streets of ancient Girona in Spain and the urban rooftops of London, England, as they pave the way for a renewable energy revolution and build healthier, financially stable communities.

AquaDuctus 10 GW Green Hydrogen Pipeline Reaffirmed

Now you’re talking! The Dutch companies Shell and Gasunie, as well as the German companies RWE and GASCADE have reaffirmed that they want to join forces in building a 10 GW green hydrogen pipeline, connecting future large offshore wind parks with mainland Europe, by signing a declaration of intent. Timeline: 1 million ton/year in 2035. The pipeline would make 5 High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission systems superfluous and is more economical by far.

AquaDuctus would connect AquaVentus, that is several large offshore wind farms between Helgoland and Doggersbank.

[] – Pipeline for green hydrogen from North Sea
[] – Shell, RWE & Co Move Forward with German Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Project
[] – Powerhouses Join 10 GW Offshore Wind to Hydrogen Project
[] – Shell and RWE advance plans for first hydrogen pipeline from North Sea offshore wind

Offshore Wind in France Finally Taking Off

In Europe, France, because of its large and thinly populated land mass, has a considerable potential for wind energy, certainly onshore, yet relatively little has been realized. 2019: 16 GW. Reason: the overwhelming presence of nuclear power, the French are not ready to write off yet, very much in contrast to Germany, a country that may have reacted a little too much in panic to the Fukushima disaster and now runs the risk of provoking populist resistance against renewable energy, if the country would fall victim to one or two weeks Dunkelflaute. In 2021, the real challenge is not so much rolling out more renewable capacity, but the development and installation of solid storage first. As a rule of thumb, you can ignore storage up until about 40% and Germany has already passed that point, although Germany still has the option to use the power grids of its many neighbors as a buffer and buy conventional generated electricity in return.

Back to France. Iberdrola is about to start building a 496 MW offshore wind park near the coast of très pittoresque Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, the first in France. Price tag 2.4 billion euro. Operational date 2023. 62 Siemens-Gamesa direct-drive turbines of 8 MW each. Monopiles by Navantia-Windar, Spain. Installer van Oord of the Netherlands and their Aeolus flagship. Surface area 75 km2, 16 km off the coast. Cables will be buried to enable fishing in between the wind towers.

[] – Saint-Brieuc Offshore Wind Farm
[] – Wind power in France
[Google Maps] – Saint-Brieuc
[deepresource] – “Don’t Worry About Intermittency Under 30-40% Renewable Energy Share”

Recycling E-Vehicle Batteries

CNBC – Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere — in phones, laptops, tablets, cameras and increasingly cars. Demand for lithium-ion batteries has risen sharply in the past five years and is expected to grow from a $44.2 billion market in 2020 to a $94.4 billion market by 2025, mostly due to the boom in electric cars. And a shortage of lithium-ion batteries is looming in the U.S.

Former Tesla CTO and Elon Musk’s right-hand man, JB Straubel, started Redwood Materials in 2017 to help address the need for more raw materials and to solve the problem of e-waste. The company recycles end-of-life batteries and then supplies battery makers and auto companies with materials in short supply as EV production surges around the world. Straubel gave CNBC an inside look at its first recycling facility in Carson City, Nevada. Watch the video to learn why battery recycling will be an essential part in making EV production more sustainable.

[] – J. B. Straubel
[] – Company site
[] – Tesla execs are leading a recycling firm that has raised $2 million in funding

Germany Renewable Energy Tender Timeline 2021-2030

Here are the plans of the German government for this decade, regarding renewable energy installation:

Source 2020 (GW) 2030 (GW)
Onshore wind 54.4 71.0
Offshore wind 7.8 20.0
Solar 53.1 100.0
Biomass 8.2 8.4

[] – Germany aims to tender 4 GW of additional PV in 2022
[] – What’s new in Germany’s Renewable Energy Act 2021

German electricity consumption 2019: 512 TWh. Germany would be at 80% renewable electricity share by 2030, if plans are realized.

EU & US Climate Targets “Gold” for Renewable Energy Industry


The Danish Sydbank has given the green light to the renewable energy industry as one of the key areas where huge profits (“gold”) can be made:

Vestas is flying on the stock exchange in Copenhagen in Thursday’s trading, where the presentation of new climate targets from the US government helps to pull up sharply.

And it is worth its weight in gold for a company like Vestas that there is firm political support for the development of renewable energy, says Sydbank.

– It may not do anything for Vestas ‘2021 forecast, but political support for green transition is the foundation for Vestas’ growth journey in the coming years, writes Jacob Pedersen, head of equity analysis at Sydbank, on Thursday in an analysis.

According to announcements from President Joe Biden on Thursday, the United States will halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The comparison year is 2005.

This follows right after the EU countries on Wednesday agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 per cent. by 2030. Previously, the target was 40 per cent.

The two ambitious policy goals are extremely important signals in the environmental agenda that is currently emerging around the world. There is a long way to go to meet the ambitious goals, and not all the goals have been approved yet, but the direction is clear, writes Jacob Pedersen.

And the direction is worth gold for Vestas. The company is in an enviable position as the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer and thus a supplier of solutions that are central to promoting the sustainability agenda and ultimately also fulfilling the politicians’ ambitious goals, he continues.

What applies to Vestas, applies to most other companies in the renewable energy realm. Never before in history has a branch of energy production been so heavily promoted, nay, tied to the survival of mankind itself, than renewable energy. There will be zero problems in finding funds to finance the transition. Expect pension funds to go at each other’s throat for the privilege of throwing billions at new offshore wind parks.

[] – Vestas / Sydbank: US climate targets lift the share
[] – Sydbank

Investors Lining Up for Danish Energy Island

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Wind farm developer Orsted plans to submit a joint bid with Danish pension fund ATP to finance and build the world’s first energy island in the North Sea.

The artificial island, which will produce and store enough green energy to cover the electricity needs of 3 million European households, was approved by Danish lawmakers in February as part of the country’s ambitious climate targets.

[] – Ørsted and ATP team up for bid on North Sea energy island
[] – Orsted plans bid for North Sea renewables energy island
[] – Ørsted and ATP to Submit Bid for Danish Energy Island

Dutch Energy Island IJver

IJVER is the working name of a proposed energy island in the North Sea. The name is a contraction of “IJmuiden Ver”, the name of the largest planned offshore wind park, to be realized before 2030 (6.1 GW). The purpose of this island to function as a hub for the combined wind turbine output, to produce hydrogen and pump it onshore through an existing pipeline network.

The star indicates the location of the island, near the NSE_1_3 pipelines.

[] – Groene Waterstof op Zee?
[] – IJverGas (pdf, 148p)

Going Dutch – the Rebirth of the Carver

The Carver began its life as a gasoline-fueled vehicle and even made into the UK Top Gear program, see video at the bottom. After a lot of ups and downs, Carver made a restart and now produces an e-vehicle (in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands), with the legal status of a scooter and hence no access to highways (yet). With an average occupation rate of 1.25, a weight of 1200 kg or more and fuel consumption of say 15 km/liter [*], the classic ICE sedan car is a terrible waste of energy and resources. This Carver vehicle could be an acceptable compromise between the outdated classic 5-seater Sedan and autonomous transport-as-a-service. And the Carver could be made autonomous too.

Width: 98 cm
Weight: 330 kg
Range: 100 km
Battery: 5.4 kWh
Price: €9,980.- (incl 21% VAT)
Capacity: 2 persons
Luggage: 75 liter
Speed: 45 kmh [**]
Charging time: 4-5 hours via household wall socket

[*] – 1 liter gasoline is about 10 kWh and brings you 15 km in a standard gasoline car. In a Carver, 10 kWh brings you 200 km!

[**] – That current speed limit of 45 kmh is legally inspired, not a technical limit and is chosen to ease market introduction. At a later stage, the 2-seater Carver could very well become a comfortable, lightweight alternative for the classic 5-seater sedan, including highway access and 100 kmh topspeed. It could also become an acceptable, privately-owned alternative for the corporate-owned, autonomous-driving taxi-fleet.

Carver Europe B.V. is a Dutch automotive company that develops and manufactures three-wheeled enclosed man-wide vehicles… Its headquarters, assembly factory, experience center and sales and marketing activities, are in Leeuwarden. The engineering team is located in ‘s-Gravendeel and operates under the name Carver Technology B.V.

The company was founded in 1994 by Chris van den Brink and Harry Kroonen as Brink Technologies Group B.V., although its history can be traced further back to 1990. Since then, the company has seen several changes to its name and structure. The current CEO is Anton Rosier and Chris van den Brink operates as CTO (Chief Technology Officer).

By 2019, Carver produced two distinct vehicle models: the Carver One – a high-speed model with a petrol engine – and a fully electric scooter model called the Carver. The latter was launched in late 2019.

[] – Carver corporate site
[] – Carver (automotive company)

EU Companies Start Offshore Wind Scene in the US


Ørsted of Denmark and EEW of Germany are building an offshore wind monopile manufacturing facility in Paulsboro, New Jersey, USA, to finally make offshore wind happen in North-America, after every developed nation in Eurasia has done so for years.

The Netherlands, that has traditionally excellent business ties in the US (after all, they were the first to colonize the joint), will play a major role in offshore installation, with names like Heerema, van Oord and Shell:

Heerema will participate in the construction of Martha’s Vineyard OWP.

The entire wind sector in the US is dominated by European companies and this is unlikely to change, with names like Iberdrola of Spain and Enel of Italy. Where after the war, US companies served European energy needs for decades with names like Esso, Texaco, Exxon-Mobile, it’s high time that Europe returns the favor and shows some gratitude.

The era of the Anglo Seven Sisters is over. Move over, here come the European Seven Brothers of renewable energy. And with it will come geopolitical dominance. Europe is returning to America, after it began to leave in 1783. The immense political polarization of the US today doesn’t bode well for the unity of the country. The USSR split up in 15 pieces after 1991, after communism failed. A similar process is to be expected for the US and will create a power vacuum, that will enable the Europeans to get a hold over parts of its former colony once again, by separating the hotheads in a likely future conflagration, that could turn very bloody. The likely expansion of China in East-Asia will do the rest or could even initiate the destabilization of the social order in North-America.

[] – Constr. Starts on US Largest Offshore Wind Manufacturing Hub
[] – Ørsted and EEW Plan Monopile Factory in New Jersey
[] – Heerema bouwt aan eerste grote offshore windpark VS
[Google Maps] – Paulsboro Marine Terminal | Holt Logistics, LLC
[] – EEW and Ørsted Plan Paulsboro, New Jersey, Offshore Wind Turbine Component Manufacturing Plant

Dutch Gov Wind Power Install Forecasting is Accurate


This blog started in 2012. While browsing through old posts, I noticed this one:

[deepresource] – Netherlands To Install 6 GW Wind Capacity By 2020

In 2012, the Dutch government announced its intention to have 6 GW wind power installed by 2020. The graph indicates that by 31-12-2020, the total installed capacity was offshore 2.4 GW and onshore 4.3 GW or 6.7 GW in total.

Not bad!

Haldor Topsoe Claims 90%+ Electrolysis Efficiency

The world of science and technology is struggling to determine which electrolysis method is the best to enable the emerging hydrogen economy. Candidates are PEM, alkaline, HTE, SOEC (Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell) and others.

The Danish company Haldor Topsoe has announced it will set up a SOEC electrolyzer production line of 500 MW/year, operational by 2023 and which should culminate in 5 GW/year eventually. Haldor Topsoe claims an electrolysis efficiency of higher than 90%.

SOEC electrolyzers typically operate at 500-850 °C, in order to enable these high efficiencies. But obtaining water at these temperatures costs energy in itself. One promising solution could be the application of concentrated solar power (CSP), where huge PV-solar arrays in the desert and an accompanying CSP-plant, feed electrolyzers with both electricity and hot pressurized water.

[] – Solid oxide electrolyzer cell
[] – Solid oxide electrolysis cell technology
[] – Recent advances in solid oxide cell technology for electrolysis
[deepresource] – Taking an Electrolyzer Apart
[] – Haldor Topsoe to build large-scale SOEC electrolyzer manufacturing facility

Taking an Electrolyzer Apart

Youtube text, questions answered:

01:11​ How does an electrolyser work? (tabletop electrolysis demonstration)
01:49​ What are the components in an electrolyser?
02:30​ What consumables does the process use?
03:17​ How can we make electrolysis more efficient?
04:25​ What are the advantages of alkaline water electrolysis compared to PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) or SOEC (solid oxide electrolyser cell)?
05:09​ How much does an electrolyser cost? (levelized cost of hydrogen, capex, efficiency)
06:07​ What do you do with the oxygen after you split water?
06:39​ Electrolyser tour: an up-close look at a real electrolyser
08:06​ Do you have to use pure water for electrolysis, or can polluted or salt water be used?
08:46​ How much hydrogen can a shipping container sized electrolyser produce?
09:02​ Applications for hydrogen: will we use hydrogen to store and generate electricity?
09:46​ What about the low efficiency of using electricity to make hydrogen instead of just using electricity directly?
11:01​ How do you calculate the efficiency of an electrolyser? (electrolysis thermoneutral voltage)
12:06​ How much more efficient can electrolysis get?
12:26​ What kinds of improvements are needed to improve efficiency?
12:59​ How long will it take to develop a more efficient electrolyser?
13:16​ Is it realistic that the price of hydrogen can come down as quickly as it is predicted to?

[] – Company site
[] – GHS to Deliver Electrolysers for H2RES Project
[] – Green hydrogen marvel bound for blockbuster IPO

Lagerwey – Installing a Wind Mill Without External Crane

The Dutch wind developer Lagerwey has been working on this feature since 2016: why go into the trouble of installing a huge crane first, to build a huge wind tower second, if you can use the “growing wind tower” as the crane itself, eliminating the need for an external crane?!

In 2018, the German company Enercon took over Lagerwey and continued to develop the so-called climbing crane, that now has a capacity of 140 tonnes.

For the first time, Lagerwey is attempting to install a complete wind tower, with turbine and rotor blades in Eemshaven in Groningen.

[] – Klimmende kraan van Lagerwey in Eemshaven
[deepresource] – Lagerwey Self-Climbing Crane on Display in Hamburg
[deepresource] – Lagerwey Completes 150 MW Adygea Wind Project in Russia

Cost Wind Energy Could be Halved by 2050

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory claims in a study that the cost of wind energy, could be further substantially reduced, up to 49% in 2050, as compared to 2014. Note that most cost-cutting will be achieved as early as 2030.

Earlier, a study by Lazard has shown that renewable energy is already the cheapest by far, if you ignore storage cost.

[] – Expert elicitation survey predicts 37% to 49% declines in wind energy costs by 2050
[] – Wind energy production costs could be halved by 2050, survey suggests
[deepresource] – Lazard – Renewable Energy Cheapest by Far

Chinese Plan 20 MW Offshore Wind Installer Ships

The Belgian jack-up company Jan de Nul gave the good example earlier and will have a 3000 ton offshore weight-lifting champ “Voltaire” operational in 2022.

Now the Chinese have announced plans to do the same:

The deal with compatriot offshore wind contractor Boqiang Heavy Industry Group will see CIMC Raffles deliver the first of numerous 3060 WTIV-series vessels in the first quarter of 2023… This vessel will be equipped with a giant crane — to be supplied by Huisman that will have lifting capacity of 2200 tonnes — a rack and pinion jacking system that will enable the vessel to operate in wave height of 2.5 metres… It will be capable of installing turbines of up to 20MW.

[] – CIMC Raffles nets deal to build novel offshore wind vessels amid energy transition drive
[] – CIMC to Build Next-Gen Wind Installation Vessel for OIM
[deepresource] – Voltaire Mega-Jackup Vessel under Construction
[deepresource] – Developments in Offshore Wind Jack-Up Market

Eastern Europe has 444 GW Offshore Wind Potential

[source] Finally, a promising resource, dirt poor Ukraine can build upon and become a serious European energy province.

The Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and the Eastern Mediterranean offer abundant areas with great site conditions for fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind, with LCOE levels projected to go as low as EUR 50/MWh, according to a report issued by Aegir Insights.

The Black Sea countries of Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria have a combined technical offshore wind potential of 444 GW, with the bulk of it 314 (GW), coming from Ukraine.

Turkey’s technical offshore wind potential in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean stands at 90 GW.

To put things into perspective: the entire EU has an average electricity consumption of ca. 300 GW, 24/7/365.

As a rule of thumb, average offshore wind power in a 10 m/s wind regime, for new 15+ MW wind turbines, is about 50% of the nameplate power. So, real average wind power from the Black Sea would amount to 444/2 = 222 GW, which is still immense.

Another renewable energy rule of thumb is that if you want a 100% renewable energy base, at the same social wealth/comfort level we enjoy today, you need to double current electricity output (from 300 GW to 600 GW in the EU), replace every central heating unit with a heat pump, install seasonal storage of heat, ban gasoline cars and replace them with e-vehicles, radical improve insulation, to achieve 100% decarbonization.

[] – Huge Offshore Wind Potential in Eastern Europe, Turkey
[] – Are the offshore winds of change coming to the Black Sea too ?
[] – Black Sea offshore wind can deliver the Green Deal for SE-Europe
[] – Offshore wind farms may help Romania to decarbonize
[] – Romania plans first Black Sea offshore wind farm

Friesland Windpark Begins to Deliver Electricity

The world’s largest inland fresh water wind farm Fryslan in the Netherlands has begun to deliver electricity. After completion, 89 Siemens-Gamesa 4.3 MW turbines will deliver 382 MW to the grid, sufficient for 500,000 households.

[] – First Power Flows from Windpark Fryslân
[deepresource] – Our Fryslan wind park posts
[] – Windpark Fryslân

Today’s Renewable Energy Headlines

[] – Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry Signs Offshore Wind MoU with IFC

[] – US Oil Major Chevron Enters Offshore Wind Market

[] – ‘It’s an achievable number, 30GW’: US Wind readies for the big Atlantic offshore build

The Biden-US has formulated the (rather modest) goal of 30 GW offshore wind by 2030.

[] – ‘Catalytic’ billion-euro hydrogen fund led by former Air Liquide VP launched

[] – Uniper plans green hydrogen hub instead of LNG terminal at German North Sea port

Fortum unit Uniper plans to turn the North Sea port town of Wilhelmshaven into a national hub for climate-friendly hydrogen, including an import terminal for green ammonia and a 410MW electrolyser for the production of green hydrogen

[] – Solar shines as European corporate renewable energy deals hit new heights

New buyers, new countries, new records as EU companies ink some 4GW of green power production agreements in 2020, according to WindEurope figures

[] – IKEA retailer invests $272m in 160MW of Russian solar projects

[] – 63% Of Europeans Living In Cities Support EU Ban On Petrol & Diesel Car Sales After 2030

Scottish Whitelee Wind Farm to Produce Green Hydrogen

The output of the 2009 Scottish onshore 540 MW wind farm Whitelee is going to be partially used as input for a green hydrogen production plant.

The project – a planning application for which has been submitted by the Spanish utility through its ScottishPower subsidiary with gases giant BOC and electrolysis pioneer ITM Power – would encompass 40MW of PV, a 50MW battery and a 20MW electrolyser, sited near Whitelee, one of Europe’s largest wind power projects.

[] – Scotland’s giant Whitelee wind farm in frame to power hybrid Iberdrola hydrogen complex
[] – Whitelee Wind Farm

Read more…

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