According to Bloomberg there are merely a dozen ships in the world that can install a large offshore wind turbine, which is understandable with a list price of ca. 300 million euro per ship. Currently almost all these vessels are operating in European waters. Europe is uniquely blessed with ca. 600,000 km2 shallow water with high wind speeds (North Sea, Baltic and Irish Sea, together an area larger than France) that can be utilized for offshore wind, in principle enough to supply the entire EU (300 GW on average), three-five times over.
[deepresource] – The Giants of a New Energy Age
[deepresource] – European Wind Energy Potential
[deepresource] – The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea
[deepresource] – Unleashing Europe’s Offshore Wind Potential 2030
Principle offshore wind installation vessel illustrated. About one turbine foundation can be realized per day or 4 per week, if fetching a new batch in port is included. The next generation is 10 MW, 13 MW is in the pipeline. Take the Netherlands: 13 GW average electricity consumption. That could be covered by 1,000 wind turbines, or 2,000 rather, if a conservative capacity factor of 50% for large turbines is taken into account. That’s 500 weeks or 10 years installation time. So, a single ship can realize the electricity transition of a country like Holland in a decade. For 100% renewable primary energy we need to calculate twice the amount of electricity consumed today, that’s only two decades! Productivity could be significantly enhanced if a simple cheap barge and tugboat is used to fetch a new batch of 4-6 monopiles from the harbor in Rotterdam, Vlissingen or Eemshaven, while the expensive installation vessel Aeolus merrily hammers away full-time. In that case 4,000 13 MW turbines could be installed in 4,000 days or 11 years. Note that in the mean time a lot of additional solar and onshore wind capacity has been, c.q. will be built. In conclusion: this single ship Aeolus is able to complete the energy transition of the Netherlands, the #17 in the global GDP ranking before 2030, not 2050 as the EU demands. Most likely developing sufficient storage capacity will be the real bottleneck, not electricity generation capacity.
1600 GW waiting to be raked in. EU average power consumption 300 GW. The old continent has no conventional fossil fuel reserves worth mentioning, fortunately Europe doesn’t need to. Armed with the Paris Climate Accords, Europe effectively dissed everybody else his fossil fuel reserves and is offering a viable alternative instead.
Some recent developments in the fields of offshore jack-up vessels:
[bloomberg.com] – Offshore Wind Will Need Bigger Boats. Much Bigger Boats
[auxnavaliaplus.org] – Vessels and platforms for the emerging wind market (pdf, 108p)
[deme-group.com] – DEME’s giant installation vessel ‘Orion’ launched in China
[a2sea.com] – A2SEA Invests in a New Jack-up Vessel
[4coffshore.com] – Construction Progressing for Next Gen Vessel
[cemreshipyard.com] – Offshore Vessels Demand for Offshore Wind Activities
[windenergie-magazine.nl] – Jan de Nul orders new installation vessel
[jandenul.com] – Getting ready for the next generation of offshore wind projects
[offshorewind.biz] – Jan De Nul Orders Mega Jack-Up
[industryreports24.com] – Massive hike by Wind Turbine Installation Vessel Market
[renews.biz] – Japan joins offshore wind jack-up brigade
[maritime-executive.com] – Wind Tower Service Firm Plans to Build Jones Act Ships
[iro.nl] – New design jack-up vessels to strengthen Ulstein’s offshore wind ambitions
[newenergyupdate.com] – Flurry US offshore vessel deals prepares market for huge turbines
The Aeolus is one of the most advanced offshore wind seejacking vessels in the world. It’s German-built, Dutch owned and operated by the Van Oord offshore enterprise.
The site marinetraffic.com offers the opportunity to follow global shipping. Just register and identify a ship of your choice and from then on you will receive email updates about events concerning that ship, like departure, arrival, berthing. Fortunately have not yet received mails reporting capsizing or sinking.
Yours faithfully has registered as well and chosen the Aeolus. The Aeolus is currently busy constructing the Belgian Norther offshore windfarm, see map below. The Aeolus picks up monopiles, towers, nacelles and rotor blades in Vlissingen, or Flushing as the town is known in Anglosphere (think “Flushing” and “Flushing Meadows tennis tournament“)
Here a summary of the most recent marinetraffic.com mails:
2019-04-21 21:52 – A new photo of AEOLUS has just been uploaded.
The photo shows the Aeolus, carrying 4 wind towers, nacelles and ditto rotor blades, leaving Flushing and heading for the Norther windpark in statu nascendi.
2019-04-21 15:30 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-20 18:40 – Arrival: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-17 07:50 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSING
2019-04-16 10:25 – Arrival: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-12 05:28 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-09 20:51 – Arrival: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
2019-04-05 13:49 – Departure: AEOLUS, Port: VLISSINGEN
OK, now let’s evaluate this data a little in a back-of-an-envelope calculation. The Aeolus is carrying 4 x 8.4 MW = 33.2 MW worth of nameplate wind power. Total Dutch (still largely fossil-based) power generation capacity = 29 GW. Average Dutch power consumption is 13 GW. How much time does it take for the Aeolus to install 29 GW of offshore windpower in order to complete the intended renewable energy transition?
From the list above you can conclude that the time for a full installation cycle can be 4, 5 or 7 days. Let’s say 6 days. Note that the installation of a complete wind turbines consists of 2 parts: 1. ramming a monopile into the sea bed and 2. placing the wind tower, nacelle and rotorblades on top of the monopile. In other words, it takes 2 x 6 = 12 days to install 4 wind turbines of 8.4 MW each or 33.2 MW in total.
In order to fully replace the total Dutch largely fossil-based power production of 29 GW, that would take 12 x 29,000/33.2 = 10,500 days or 29 years. Mind you, this is nameplate power and a capacity factor of 50% needs to be taken into account. That figure is however offset by the fact that in a couple of years 12-15 MW turbines will be installed, that can be handled by the same Aeolus. So we stick with 29 years. In other words, this single ship Aeolus alone is able to carry out the intended Dutch energy transition until 2050, the planned end date of said transition.
Note that this is a thought experiment. A lot of wind a solar capacity is planned to be installed onshore. On the other hand, as a rule of thumb, for a complete decarbonization of an average advanced western economy you need roughly 2 times the existing power generation capacity to keep the same standard of living, provided you replace conventional heating with heat pumps, implement thorough insulation, drive e-vehicles, etc.
The goal of the exercise is to point out that the renewable energy transition is a realistic enterprise and that the time frame of 2050 is doable.
The construction of the 2 x 700 MW Borssele offshore wind park in the Netherlands off the coast of the Zeeland province, is in full swing, with planned delivery dates 2019 & 2020 resp. Unfortunately no pictures as of yet of the actual wind turbines itself, but instead of the construction of the transformer platform.
The Borssele nuclear power station produces 400 MW. At full wind speed the Borssele wind park will produce 3.5 times as much. Food for thought for the dense “wind energy is not dense enough” crowd.
Lifting capacity: 2000 ton, sufficient for 10 MW turbines.
[xindemarinenews.com] – World’s largest offshore wind platform delivered in E.China
[offshorewind.biz] – Ulstein Kicks Off Nexans Aurora Construction
Croatian built, Uljanik Shipyard. Leg length 107 m. Crane 800 ton. Owner: Flemish DEME Group.
Underwater noise produced by the BLUE Hammer is approximately 20 dB lower than noise produced by conventional hydraulic hammers. Lower noise levels result in lower environmental loads, reducing the costs for noise mitigation and making noise mitigation unnecessary in most conditions.
[fistuca.com] – Company site
[tue.nl] – Noise reduction by new piling technology
[offshorewind.biz] – Blue hammer strikes at maasvlakte-2
[offshorewind.biz] – BLUE Hammer Completes Offshore Test
[offshorewind.biz] – BLUE Hammer Driving Piles In Quietly
[offshorewind.biz] – Sif Showcases First BLUE Hammer Steel
[offshorewind.biz] – Huisman Takes Piece of Pile Driving Specialist
[portofrotterdam.com] – BLUE Piling drives monopiles into the sea bed the smarter way
Royal Dutch Shell says it is considering bidding for rights to develop offshore wind farms in UK waters as the British-Dutch oil and gas giant seeks to re-enter the nation’s sector after a 10-year absence.
Dorine Bosman, Shell’s wind chief, said the company was interested in seabed leases due to be awarded during 2019 by the Crown Estate, which controls Britain’s coast. The Dutch-based firm left the UK offshore wind sector when it sold its stake in the London Array project 10 years ago.
A global pioneer in the field, the UK was one of the key offshore wind markets Shell wanted to enter, she said. The oil major says it is investing US$2 billion a year in developing “new energies” or low-carbon power.
Shell co-owns a minor offshore wind farm in the Netherlands and a larger Dutch project which is under construction. In December it spent US$175 million entering the tiny US market, acquiring the rights to New Jersey and Massachusetts seabed leases that could potentially generate 4.1 gigawatts of wind power.
[energy-reporters.com] – Shell plans return to UK offshore wind
Vision document of the Dutch minestry of economic affairs and climate regarding the Dutch offshore wind policy.
For footnoots, see link to the online version.
[english.rvo.nl] – Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030 (2018)
Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat
Subject: Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030
Dear Madam President,
The Dutch North Sea has the potential to play a significant role in achieving the national contribution to the goals of the Paris climate agreement and the necessary sustainable development of our energy supply towards 2050. A number of crucial steps toward achieving this were set out in the Energy Agreement of 2013.1 The basis for the Netherlands’ long-term energy policy was laid down in the Energy Report,2 the subsequent Energy Dialogue3 and the Energy Agenda.4 In the Coalition Agreement, the Dutch Government will continue to develop that policy and will be actively pursuing the implementation thereof.
The current realisation of offshore wind energy under the Energy Agreement has seen and, until 2023, will continue to see crucial steps being taken for the sustainable development of the Dutch energy supply. The prospect of five calls for tender has given market participants the confidence to invest and has altered risk perception. This has resulted in a major reduction in costs. The Government wishes to retain the market’s confidence and the current momentum and intends to issue the remaining calls for tender for the Energy Agreement within the next two years to complete the Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2023.5
At the same time, the national government wishes to take the next step to further develop offshore wind energy for the period 2024 to 2030, and wishes to kick off preparations for this endeavour. To that end, this letter contains the key elements for an Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap for the period 2024 to 2030. In this way, I am honouring the commitment I made to the House during the General Consultation on Energy of 18 January.6
From the report conclusions:
The Dutch government intends to increase the speed of the roll-out of offshore wind, simply because it can afford to do so, since the financial markets and offshore industry are willing to build new capacity without subsidy, as long as they are guaranteed to be allowed to bring offshore wind electricity onshore and compete with other suppliers, greatly benefiting from the Paris climate Accords. In contrast to what the map says, the tender for 4 GW located in IJmuiden Ver is expected to be inked by 2023, not 2030. That would be 60% of the 2024-2030 ambition. Government CPB (Dutch Central Planning Agency) scenario’s for offshore wind development project up to 75 GW in the Dutch part of the North Sea in 2050. Assuming a capacity factor for large (12 MW) turbines of 0.65, this would imply 50 GW on average. Current average Dutch electricity consumption is merely 13 GW. 25 GW would suffice to power the entire Dutch economy, including heat-pump-based space heating and electrified transport, leaving 25 GW for export.
It could very well be that the bottle neck of the roll out will be timely installation of sufficient storage facilities, although for some time to come, excess electricity could be pumped into the European grid.
The ambition is to install 11.5 GW before 2030:
[english.rvo.nl] – Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030
After completion of Borssele I-V wind farms in 2020, the 7 GW “Hollandse Kust” project will be next, region “Zuid” first. This is the first time 12 MW machines will be installed.
[english.rvo.nl] – Hollandse Kust (Zuid) Wind Farm Zone
(On 19 March 2018, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy issued permits for Hollandse Kust (zuid) Wind Farm Zone Sites I and II to Chinook CV, a subsidiary of Nuon/Vattenfall.)
[biedboek.nl] – Tender wind op zee – Hollandse kust (zuid) kavels III en IV
(Expected first half 2019)
Power: 382 MW
Turbines: 89 4.3 MW Siemens-Gamesa
Operational: mid 2021
Construction cost: 500 million euro
[windparkfryslan.nl] – Official project site
[4coffshore.com] – Windpark Fryslân Offhore Wind Farm
[cleantechnica.com] – Siemens Gamesa & Van Oord Chosen To Build 380 Megawatt Fryslân Nearshore Wind Farm
[offshorewind.biz] – All Clear for Windpark Fryslân Construction