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
According to the Committee on Climate Change, Britain needs to quadruple its inventory of wind turbines from 1,900 now to 7,500, as well as increase the British area of forestation from 12% to 17%, in order to meet the climate targets. Wind power would increase from 8 GW now to 75 GW. Jobs would remain constant.
[dailymail.co.uk] – Number of wind turbines in the UK needs to QUADRUPLE to 7,500 and the nation should plant ‘enough trees to cover Yorkshire’ in order to meet strict Government climate targets
[wikipedia.org] – Committee on Climate Change
One important factor in the overall cost of installation of a multiple megawatt wind-turbine, is that you have to bring a huge crane to the installation site. The innovation by the Dutch wind energy company Lagerwey is that they recognized that the wind tower under construction can itself function as a crane. All you need is a small crane, that can be transported by merely three trucks, mount it to the wind-tower-under-construction and bring parts of the tower, nacelle and eventually rotor blades to the top. Apparently the crane is now ready for prime time, witnessing the presentation of the crane at the Wind Energy Exhibition in Hamburg.
Lagerwey is selected by the Russian government as the preferred supplier to get wind development started in Russia, in cooperation with local industries and build 26 wind parks. Between 2018-2020, 610 MW is scheduled for installation.
The construction and testing of a modular, low pressure compressed air energy storage (CAES) system is presented. The low pressure assumption (5 bar max) facilitates the use of isentropic relations to describe the system behavior, and practically eliminates the need for heat removal considerations necessary in higher pressure systems to offset the temperature rise. The maximum overall system efficiency is around 97.6%, while the system physical footprint is less than 0.6 m3 (small storage room). This provides a great option for storage in remote locations that operate on wind energy to benefit from a nonconventional storage system. The overall size and capacity of the system can be changed by changing the number of active cylinders, which in this case are off-the-shelf, small pressure vessels used for fire protection. Moreover, the system operation is automated and capable of addressing both high energy and high power density applications with an infinite number of charge-discharge cycles by augmenting the capacity with the required number of storage cylinders. The system is eco-friendly and has low maintenance costs compared to chemical storage.
[researchgate.net] – Low pressure, modular compressed air energy storage (CAES) system for wind energy storage applications
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.
Scale: 310 MW
Funding: 630 million euro, private funding, Dutch government, EU
Turbines: 365 Vestas 850 kW
About the project: predictable strong winds from the Indian Ocean. A lot of social resistance needed to be overcome, tribal quarrels. The Kenyan government not living up to its promise to connect the wind farm to the national grid. Dolleman is an Africa lover, you have to be. He lives there for 40 years now. The plan to build a wind farm is old, but in 2005 it gets contours. With two friends from Holland Harry Wassenaar and Carlo van Wageningen, Wim Dolleman gets enthusiastic support. 300 MW, that would be 20% of the total Kenyan electricity generation. A test period is completed with the conclusion that wind conditions are superb. Most money required is collected from 88 befriended Dutch entrepreneurs, many of whom are in the wind energy business. The World Bank withdraws, and is replaced by the African Development Bank. That was the turning point. The nomads understand that their soil hasn’t been taken away and that their cattle can graze between the turbines.
[wikipedia.org] – Lake Turkana Wind Power Station
[volkskrant.nl] – Hoe het grootste windpark van Afrika er ondanks alles kwam
[volkskrant.nl] – Wind brengt welvaart, maar niet zonder slag of stoot
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.
Sneak preview of how the world’s largest windturbine in the world will operate in Rotterdam Harbor as of mid-2019 for extensive testing.
Total height: 260 m
Rotor diameter: 220 m
Commercial rollout: 2021
Dutch onshore wind capacity grew with 94 MW in 2018.
Dutch wind installation 31-12-2018:
Offshore: 0.957 GW
Onshore: 2.647 GW
Total: 4.130 GW
Goal 2020: 6.0 GW
Note these figures are nameplate (max values).
Average Dutch electricity consumption: 13 GW
The green bars indicate which part of the 2020-target has been realized. The Zeeland province is almost there, Drenthe is lagging behind.
– Offshore windparks Borssele I&II (750 MW) are expected to come online in 2020, Borssele III&IV (750 MW) in 2021.
– Offshore windparks Hollandse Kust Zuid I&II (750 MW) are expected to be completed in 2022.
– After that Hollandse Kust III&IV (750 MW) and Hollandse Kust Noord I&II (750 MW) are next, no closed tenders yet.
– Between 2024-2030 IJmuiden Ver (4 GW) will be next. After 2030, massive expansion further North up until the Doggerbank is definitely an option, enabling the Netherlands to become an energy exporter once again.
By that time storage and energy island will need to be taken into consideration, like a pumped-hydro facility at the Doggerbank and hydrogen electrolysis (cost half a cent per kWh renewable electricity, resulting in a price of stored chemical energy of ca. 6 cent/kWh).
Currently renewable electricity in the Netherlands from solar is 20% of that of wind.
[windenergie-magazine.nl] – Further growth onshore wind in 2018