Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “wind”

Ocean Grazer Offshore Storage System

If there is an overproduction of wind energy, offshore turbines are often switched off, not to disturb the grid, which is a waste. Here is a mechanical storage mechanism, based on underwater pumped-hydro:

The Ocean Battery is a scalable, modular solution for large scale storage of electricity that is produced by renewable sources such as wind turbines and floating solar farms at sea. Ocean Battery is a pumped hydro system in a box that provides eco-friendly utility scale energy storage of 2 – 10 MWh per unit. The mechanism is based on hydro dam technology, that has proven itself for over a century as highly reliable and efficient.

To store energy, the system pumps water from the rigid reservoirs into the flexible bladders on the seabed. Now the energy is stored as potential energy in the form of water under high pressure. When there is demand for power, water flows back from the flexible bladders to the low pressure rigid reservoirs. Driving multiple hydro turbines to generate electricity.

[] – Company site
[] – Ocean Grazer kandidaat Northern Enlightenmentz 2021
[] – Ocean Grazer and Ivy One winners of first Ben Feringa Impact Award
[] – Wout Prins

The Future of Wind Energy Technology

Global Stilling – and then the Wind Stopped Blowing

Science magazine Nature confirms global stilling between 1980-2010, but also a sharp uptick after 2010.

The British DailyMail is not the most active proponent of renewable energy. Yet they have to be taken serious, if they report that over the past 4 decades, there has been a notable decline in average wind speeds, which is bad news for the wind energy industry. And societies that intend to rely heavily on wind energy in the future.

Reason behind the declining wind speeds: climate change. The poles are heating up faster than the territories in temperate zones, reducing the temperature difference, which reduces the wind speeds. It is like with electricity: if the voltage is lower, the current is lower and the power even more so (P=V*I).

[] – Where has the wind gone? ‘Global stilling’ is blamed as wind speeds drop across Europe cutting green energy production – threatening to drive up energy prices even FURTHER

How bad is it?

Global terrestrial stilling is the decrease of wind speed observed near the Earth’s surface (~10-meter height) over the last three decades (mainly since the 1980s), originally termed “stilling”. This slowdown of near-surface terrestrial winds has mainly affected mid-latitude regions of both hemispheres, with a global average reduction of −0.140 m s−1 dec−1 (meters per second per decade) or between 5 and 15% over the past 50 years. With high-latitude (> 75° from the equator) showing increases in both hemispheres. In contrast to the observed weakening of winds over continental surfaces, winds have tended to strengthen over ocean regions. In the last few years, a break in this terrestrial decrease of wind speed has been detected suggesting a recovery at global scales since 2013.

[] – Global terrestrial stilling

For Europe, with its existing and projected large offshore wind parks of many GWs, the effect is negligible. And then there is this:

[] – A reversal in global terrestrial stilling and its implications for wind energy production

The trend of declining wind speeds seems to have been reversed since 2010. And more important:

The declining wind speed trend applies mostly to wind over land, not the seas, strengthening the case for offshore wind. Yet, even if the wind loses a few %, it won’t be a showstopper for the renewable energy transition:

[] – Solar PV to ‘overtake wind by 2023’

Wind power is suitable for highly technologically competent countries, like those bordering the North Sea and Baltic. Countries that can handle 300 m high mega-structures at sea, offering them a minimum of local energy security. In the long run, solar will outpace wind globally, because it is much simpler, cheaper and can be applied anywhere, including countries in the global South. There is no man overboard if Europe will be forced to outsource a considerable part of its hydrogen production to the South, so the latter gets money to buy our (European) products.

Nevertheless, the energy production from wind over the past few months did show that the feared “dark doldrums” are very real and that the success of the renewable energy transition hinges around the success of developing cheap and efficient (electric) energy storage. We’re not there yet.

Van Oord Orders 20 MW Wind Turbine Installation Ship

The picture shows 7 towers, which would imply that this ship will be able to ram 140 MW worth of wind capacity into the sea bed during a single run, probably in a time frame of 1-2 weeks. One can accuse the Dutch maritime industry of a lot, but not that they are subtle.

Key data:

Warf: Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard, China
Design: Knud Hansen
Crane: Huisman, 3000 ton, suitable for 20 MW turbines
Operation date: 2024

Van Oord has an option for a second vessel.

Total investment portfolio van Oord over the next 5 years: 1 billion €.


Since 2002, Van Oord has contributed to the installation of a cumulative renewable energy capacity of 14.5 GW. That represents 40% of the total installed capacity of approximately 35 GW of offshore wind worldwide at the end of 2020. In 2020, Van Oord worked on and completed offshore wind projects that provide sustainable energy to more than 2.5 million households. The demand for offshore wind farms remains high. The European Union aims to install 300 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, and worldwide this is expected to be 2000 GW of offshore wind energy. In the Netherlands, the goal is to realise 20 GW up to 2030 and another 20 GW of offshore wind energy in the next decade.

It’s pretty clear that van Oord has good prospects of becoming the next Dutch industrial giant, accompanying the likes of Philips, Shell, ING, Unilever, ASML, DSM.

[] – Van Oord orders mega ship to install 20 MW offshore wind foundations and turbines

Dutch maritime saying: “Recht zo die gaat” (Steady as she goes)

Size vs capacity offshore wind turbines

Wijk aan Zee Staycation Pictures

Ran unexpectedly into this visible aspect of the Dutch renewable energy transition during a recent sea-side holiday: grid operator TenneT laying the cable that will connect future offshore wind farms near the coast of Wijk aan Zee and the Dutch national grid, see map below. The to be connected wind farms “Hollandse Kust Noord (HKN)” and “Hollandse Kust West-Alpha” are planned to be up-and-running in 2023 and 2024 resp. For that purpose, 69 Siemens-Gamesa turbines will be deployed in this HKN 759 MW project, developed by Shell and Eneco; installer: van Oord:

Total Dutch offshore wind capacity is planned to be 11 GW by 2030.

[] – Shell-Eneco Consortium Wins Hollandse Kust (Noord) Tender
[] – Siemens Gamesa Turbines for Hollandse Kust (Noord)
[] – Waar ligt de netaansluiting Hollandse Kust (noord) en (west Alpha)?
[] – Net op zee Hollandse Kust (noord) en (west Alpha)
[] – Windmolenproject voor kust van Wijk aan Zee naar volgende fase

The pictures were taken at location WKT1.

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Installation Ships for 20+ MW Wind Turbines Ordered

Two GustoMSC™ designed NG-20000X jackup ships, capable of handling 20+ MW offshore wind turbines, have been ordered at COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry by Cadeler. Expected delivery date: 2024-2025. GustoMSC is a daughter company of NOV. These ships will be the largest in the industry. Siemens has already reserved the future vessel for work at a UK wind farm.

[] – NOV to Design and Equip Cadeler’s New X-Class Offshore Wind Jack-Ups
[] – GustoMSC (NL)
[] – Cadeler corporate site (DK)
[] – COSCO (CN)
[] – We power the industry that powers the world (US)

Turning a Windturbine into a Hydrogen Tap – H2Mare


The German government has awarded Siemens-Energy with 100 million euro to develop an integrated offshore wind-turbine with onboard electrolyser. This makes the location of the wind turbine independent of cabling considerations. The interior of the wind turbine offers more than enough space for large quantities of hydrogen, reducing the number of visits from tanker ships. The R&D activities are taking place within the framework of the H2MARE project.

[] – Siemens wins €100m for offshore wind hydrogen project
[] – Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy to unlock a new era of offshore green hydrogen production
[] – Wie Partner im Leitprojekt H2Mare Wasserstoff direkt auf hoher See produzieren wollen
[] – Wind turbines with integrated electrolyzer demonstrate sustainable hydrogen production at sea
[] – Hydrogen made at the wind turbine
[] – Germany ploughs $117m into Siemens Energy-led bid to develop game-changer hydrogen offshore wind

MingYang Launches 16 MW Offshore Wind Turbine

Yet another renewable energy world record: MingYang launches a 16 MW offshore wind turbine, called MySE 16.0-242.

Key data:

Rotor diameter – 242 m
Electricity production: 80,000 MWh/year
Market introduction: 2024

[] – MingYang Smart Energy launches MySE 16.0-242, the world’s largest offshore Hybrid Drive wind turbine

Autonomous Floating Wind Electricity Ferry in Japan

Power ARK 100 – planned to be operational by 2025.

Island nation Japan is surrounded by very deep waters, eliminating the possibility of monopile-based wind farms. So floating wind must be applied. But laying cables in waters of many kilometers deep is problematic. So engineers of the company PowerX came up with a floating battery solutions. Unmanned ghost ships, stuffed with batteries with a cumulative capacity 200 MWh will be commuting between the floating OWFs and mainland Japan.

The Japanese government has OWF ambitions to the tune of 10 GW by 2030 and 30-45 GW by 2040. This electricity will have to be brought onshore, one way or the other.

[] – Transporting Offshore Wind Electricity by Automated Ships – A New Concept Emerges in Japan
[] – PowerX Announces Its Business to Innovate Power Storage and Transmission with “Power Transfer Vessels” and In-house Battery Manufacturing
[] – The automated vessel designed to transport electricity from offshore wind farms to shore

Aloys Wobben of Enercon Passed Away

In 1984 he founded the wind turbine manufacturer Enercon in Aurich. He began developing and producing wind turbines with three employees. In the following years, Enercon developed into one of the most successful companies in the German wind energy industry. In 1993, Wobben switched production to the gearless wind turbine with full converter that he had developed. The Enercon E-40 turbine met expectations and ensured the company’s worldwide success.

For health reasons, Wobben withdrew from the operational business in 2012 and transferred his company shares to the Aloys-Wobben Foundation with effect from 1 October 2012. The foundation thus became the sole shareholder of the Enercon Group.

According to Forbes, Wobben had a net worth of $7.1 billion as of August 2021.

[] – Enercon founder Aloys Wobben has died
[] – Aloys Wobben

Vestas Invests in Crane for 200m+ Onshore Installations

Keyword: “Salamander Quick Lift”. One is reminded of the Lagerwey-technology, that also uses the wind tower as part of the crane. Wind tower installation minimalism in action.

[] – Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas invests in Swedish crane technology for 200 metre-plus lifting
[] – S&L Access Systems with Stena AB as Majority Shareholder Partners up with Vestas
[deepresource] – Lagerwey – Installing a Wind Mill Without External Crane

World’s Largest Offshore Converter Station In Place

The world’s largest offshore converter station has been installed at the Jiangsu Rudong offshore wind farm in China’s Yellow Sea.

Key data: 1.1 GW, sourced from 3 offshore wind farms, 100 km offshore, 2.4 TWh or 1.36 million households. Weight 22 kTon.

[] – World’s Largest Offshore Converter Station In Place
[Google Maps] – approximate location in the Yellow Sea

Formation European Offshore Wind Foundation Alliance

Five European offshore wind foundation companies have formed an alliance, named OWFA, in order to streamline coordination with the EU and kindly remind the latter of its ambitious 2050 decarbonization program (and shove in the billions while they are at it).

The objectives in their own words:

  • Advocate for EU policy supporting the ramp-up of offshore wind in line with the Green Deal targets and adding European jobs in line with the Industrial Strategy;
  • Ensure foundation suppliers take the lead in setting standards and certification processes that concern them;
  • Establish a level playing field ensuring the sustainable manufacturing of offshore wind foundations;
  • Make sure EU member states maintain sufficient maritime space for offshore wind projects.


[] – OWFA consortium site

Chinese Offshore Wind Installation Vessel Capsized

Installing offshore wind turbines, with a ship on stilts, remains a risky business. The Chinese Sheng Ping 001 jack-up vessel has toppled on July 25. Four people are missing from a crew of 65.

[] – Four Missing After Jack-Up Vessel Tilts at Offshore Wind Farm in China

Other jack-up ship accidents in the past (Denmark and Africa):

NREL Webinar Overview of Floating Offshore Wind

[] – National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Wikinger Offshore Wind Farm Installation

[] – Wikinger Offshore Wind Farm

Time-lapse Turbine Installation at Vattenfall’s EOWDC OWF

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), also known as the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm is an offshore wind test and demonstration facility located around 3 kilometres off the east coast of Aberdeenshire, in the North Sea, Scotland. It was developed by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre consortium. The scheme is relatively small – it consists of 11 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 93.2 megawatts. It is located between Blackdog and Bridge of Don near Aberdeen. First power was generated in July 2018,[6] with full commissioning following in September 2018

[] – European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre
[] – European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre

Self-Portrait TNO Windenergy

TNO is one of the most prominent energy research institutes in the Netherlands.
A short self-portrait about their wind energy efforts.

[] – Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research

First Chinese Offshore Wind Farm Past 1 GW

Pictures from another offshore wind farm near Yangjiang (Nanpeng island).

China Three Gorges (CTG) Renewables has announced that its Shaba (Shapa) offshore wind project, currently under construction off the city of Yangjiang in Guangdong Province, surpassed an installed capacity of 1 GW on 15 July, making it China’s first GW-range offshore wind farm.

[] – China Gets Its First Gigawatt-Range Offshore Wind Farm

TetraSpar Floating Offshore Wind Turbine

Meet mr Henrik Stiesdal, mr Modern Windturbine:

Henrik Stiesdal (born April 14, 1957) is a Danish inventor and businessman in the modern wind power industry. In 1978, he designed one of the first wind turbines representing the so-called “Danish Concept” which dominated the global wind industry through the 1980s. Until 2014, Stiesdal was the Chief Technology Officer of Siemens Wind Power. During his professional career, Stiesdal has made more than 175 inventions and has received more than 650 patents related to wind power technology.

Currently, he is involved with the development of TetraSpar floating wind turbine. His goal: provide the world with affordable offshore wind, almost irrespective of location, read: water depth. Only wind speeds will matter.

TetraSpar turbines can be deployed at 100-1000+ meter water depth. No need for expensive specialized installation vessels; they can be completely assembled at the port, using regular crane infrastructure and towed to its final destination and moored there. Soon, 15 MW floating wind turbines will be operational. Manufacturing takes place indoors, parts can be assembled outside without welding.

[] – Henrik Stiesdal personal website
[] – Tiesdal TetraSpar
[] – Henrik Stiesdal
[] – Floating wind turbine

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