Location: Eemshaven, the Netherlands.
A second L136 tower will be built by the end of the year with a self-climbing crane (see video at the bottom), turning the tower in a self-constructing wind turbine.
Still waiting for this one to materialize:
DONG of Denmark did it again. After acquiring the 1.4GW Hornsea-UK project in the North Sea, they now will build an even bigger 2GW project off the West coast of Canada. For DONG this means an expansion beyond European borders and the Danish wind energy giant could ascend to become one of the global players in wind power that in a few decades will have replaced the mainly Anglo oil majors (“Seven Sisters”). European Seven Brothers, anyone?
[cleantechnica.com] – DONG Partners With NaiKun Wind Energy Group To Develop 2GW BC Offshore Wind Site
[4coffshore.com] – Naikun Haida Energy Field Offshore Wind Farm
[4coffshore.com] – Events on Naikun – Haida Energy Field
[deepresource] – DONG to Build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Park Hornsea-UK
[wikipedia.org] – Seven Sisters (oil companies)
[deepresource] – The Seven Brothers – Europe Taking Lead in US Offshore
DONG Energy of Denmark has won the bid for building the largest offshore wind park to date (1.4 GW), Hornsea-2 in the British part of the North Sea at a record low price guarantee of £57.50/MWh and is scheduled for completion in 2022. DONG is currently working on Hornsea-1 (1.2 GW), to be completed in 2020.
Earlier today the Dutch company Gasunie has joined the North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium. The aim is to build an artificial “energy island” in the middle of the North Sea, where wind power to the tune of 100 GW will come together eventually and distributed to countries neighboring the North Sea. Furthermore the participating partners (Netherlands, Germany and Denmark) are serious about producing hydrogen and store it in empty gas fields under the North Sea.
[nos.nl] – Nederlandse energiereuzen gaan wind- en zonne-energie opslaan
[infrasite.nl] – Gasunie treedt toe tot North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium
[wikipedia.org] – Gasunie
[tennet.eu] – Gasunie treedt toe tot North Sea Wind Power Hub
[renews.biz] – Gasunie backs island vision
[renewablesnow.com] – Gas grid operator joins North Sea wind hub concept
[arstechnica.com] – North Sea Wind Power Hub: A giant wind farm to power all of north Europe
[deepresource] – Important Step Taken Towards Energy Hub North Sea
[deepresource] – Power to gas
Stanford professor Mark Jacobson denies that extracting large amounts of energy from wind will significantly diminish the effectiveness of the exploited wind resources.
“There is enough for all”.
Wind turbines convert kinetic to electrical energy, which returns to the atmosphere as heat to regenerate some potential and kinetic energy. As the number of wind turbines increases over large geographic regions, power extraction first increases linearly, but then converges to a saturation potential not identified previously from physical principles or turbine properties. These saturation potentials are >250 terawatts (TW) at 100 m globally, approximately 80 TW at 100 m over land plus coastal ocean outside Antarctica, and approximately 380 TW at 10 km in the jet streams.
Thus, there is no fundamental barrier to obtaining half (approximately 5.75 TW) or several times the world’s all-purpose power from wind in a 2030 clean-energy economy.
Note that the EU consumes on average 0.342 TW.
This however still does not answer our question how much wind energy can be extracted from the North Sea.
[stanford.edu] – Saturation wind power potential and its implications for wind energy
The “raw technical potential” of wind power in Europe is enormous, if you keep in mind that in 2015 total EU electricity consumption was in the order of 3000 TWh. However in reality there are constraints, mostly of esthetical nature.
This study confirms that wind energy can play a major role in achieving the European renewable energy targets. As Table ES.1 makes apparent, the extent of wind energy resources in Europe is very considerable. Leaving aside some of the environmental, social and economic considerations, Europe’s raw wind energy potential is huge. Turbine technology projections suggest that it may be equivalent to almost 20 times energy demand in 2020.
Onshore, the environmental constraints considered appear to have limited impact on wind energy potential. When Natura 2000 and other designated areas are excluded, onshore technical potential decreased by just 13.7 % to 39000 TWh. However, social constraints, particularly concerns regarding the visual impact of wind farms, may further limit the onshore wind energy development.
Offshore, the environmental and social constraints applied have a larger impact on potential. Using only 4 % of the offshore area within 10 km from the coast and accounting for the restrictions imposed by shipping lane, gas and oil platforms, military areas, Natura 2000 areas etc. reduces the potential by more than 90 % (to 2800 TWh in 2020 and 3500 in 2030). When production costs are compared to the PRIMES baseline average electricity generation cost, the onshore potential for wind decreases to 9600 TWh in 2020, whereas offshore wind potential decreases to 2600 TWh. Despite being a small proportion of the total technical potential, the economically competitive wind energy potential still amounts to more than three times projected demand in 2020. However, high penetration levels of wind power will require major changes to the grid system i.e. at higher penetration levels additional extensions or upgrades both for the transmission and the distribution grid might be required to avoid congestion…
Last juli we made a calculation regarding the EROI of wind power, making some assumptions regarding the weight of the wind tower, see link below.
Now we have more accurate data, coming from the implemented Gemini wind farm, consisting of 150 Siemens 4 MW wind turbines. One of these wind turbines weighs in total 1.347 ton max. Annual electricity production Gemini wind farm: 2.6 TWh. That would be 17,333 MWh per turbine annually or 47,487 kWh/turbine/day. We again apply 5555 kWh/ton energy cost in steel production or 7,483 MWh/turbine. Payback time in energy terms: 158 days. Assuming again the worst case scenario of having to transport iron ore from Australia to Europe: 1600 kWh/ton or another 1600 * 1347 = 2,155 MWh which corresponds to 2,155/17,333 = 45 days. Energy payback tower construction + transport iron ore from Australia: 203 days [*]. Assuming an economic life time of 30 years, we arrive at an EROI of 54.
Ignored is here is the energy cost of maintenance and installation. And then there is storage.
[*] – Note that after 30 years the energy to create a new turbine from the scrap steel of the old one is less than the energy required to create a wind tower + turbine from iron ore from Australia. There is no transport energy cost other than to bring the tower to a smelter in Europe and in general the energy cost to create steel from scrap metal is (much) lower than from ore. According to Wikipedia the energy required to produce 1 metric ton of steel from scrap metal in an arc furnace is merely 440 kWh/ton (theoretical minimum 300 kWh). It goes without saying that electricity from wind power and arc furnaces are a match made in heaven and can operate on moments when supply of electricity from power is high. In the link “EU Economic Papers” (p14) it is confirmed that the energy intensity of producing 1 ton of steel from ore is a factor of 10 more intensive than producing 1 ton of steel from scrap metal in an arc furnace. If you take this in account than it follows that the EROI of a wind tower produced from the scrap metal of a previous wind tower is in the order of 500-600 [**] rather than the values 54-60 we calculated for the “first generation” wind tower. In other words, the whole EROI discussion of wind energy is obsolete.
[**] That’s too optimistic. Here an older piece of information from 2008 concerning a 600 kW onshore wind turbine:
Onshore wind turbine: 0,6MW, height = 50 m, rotor diameter = 40 m
Production 1900 GJ (embodied energy tower + nacelle)
Installation 495 GJ
Maintenance (20 year) 774 GJ
Total 3169 GJ generated energy
Annual electricity production 5015 GJ
Energy payback time 7-8 maanden
If we recycle the old turbine we will have a vastly reduced embodied energy for the 2nd generation machine. But we need energy for extraction and transporting the tower back onshore. With maintenance remaining unchanged we arrive at an EROI of 51 instead of 32. But not “500-600”. Note that this is for a very conservative 20 years life time. So far, to our knowledge two windfarms have been decommissioned, one in Denmark and one in The Netherlands, both functioned for 24 years and there is no reason to assume they could not have functioned for many additional years. If lifetime would increase to 40 years you achieve a doubling of EROI (ignoring maintenance).
[deepresource] – EROI of Offshore Wind
[geminiwindpark.nl] – Gemini wind park
[wikipedia.org] – Electric arc furnace
[ec.europa.eu] – EU Economic Papers
[energy.gov] – Theoretical Minimum Energies To Produce Steel
[steeloncall.info] Over the past half century energy intensity of crude steel production fell with 60%
[eia.gov] Over the coming 23 years energy intensity of steel production is expected to come down even further from 11 to 8 units or 27%.
The largest offshore windfarms to date have cost multi-billion euro’s. Wind Farm Layout Optimization Problem or WFLOP is an important consideration. Can we build random numbers of large wind turbines in the North Sea without harvesting substantial lower energy per turbine?
Gemini wind farm data: 150 turbines of 4 MW each, area 68 km2 or 0.453 km2/turbine, total weight heaviest wind tower 1.347 ton (monopile, transition piece, nacelle and rotor with blades), rotor diameter 130 m. Assuming a layout with square cells, this would correspond with a rib of 673 m or 5 rotor diameters (5D).
But for very large grids with a size much larger than the height of the atmosphere other rules of thumb apply:
For realistic cost ratios, we find that the optimal average turbine spacing may be considerably higher (∼ 15D) then conventionally used in current wind-farm implementations (∼ 7D).
[kuleuven.be] – Optimal turbine spacing in fully developed wind-farm boundary layers
If we were to expand the Gemini wind farm over the entire North Sea, in so far it is suitable for monopile construction (200,000 km2), we would arrive are a grid of squares with a rib of 15 * 130 m = 1950m or an area of 3.8 km2/turbine. Total turbine in the North Sea: 200,000/3.8 = 52,631 turbines of 4 MW each or 211 GW in total.
[researchgate.net] – The Wind Farm Layout Optimization Problem
hindawi.com] – Wind Turbine Placement Optimization (Monte Carlo Simulation)
[fenix.tecnico.ulisboa.pt] – Offshore Wind Farm Layout Optimization Regarding Wake Effects and Electrical Losses
[geminiwindpark.nl] – Gemini wind park feiten | cijfers
[youtube.com] – Berlin – Take My Breath Away
The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer Vestas wants to add storage facilities to its wind farms, hence the new relationship with battery manufacturer Tesla. With an ever increasing installed base of wind power, with a supply of electricity that is inherently variable, storage is becoming increasingly important.
Tesla wants to expands its customer base and move beyond car batteries and home powerwalls.
Inspired by the success of offshore wind in the North Sea, prospects for offshore wind to take off in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico look good.
This push may be enough to usher a multi-gigawatt surge in US offshore wind development, led by the first commercial wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, commissioned in December 2016. With well-capitalized and experienced offshore wind developers such as Dong Energy, Statoil and Iberdrola eager to demonstrate their 15 years of European offshore wind know-how, it is likely that positive offshore wind market forces can be sustained in the US in the upcoming years… there is a potential capacity for more than 14GW of offshore wind in sites already leased on the US outer continental shelf, which could spark investments of up to $50bn if fully developed.
[rechargenews.com] – Gulf of Mexico will benefit from coming wave of US offshore
A wind tower is essentially a support structure to carry the nacelle and rotor. The wind turbine company Lagerweij conceived that a large crane used to build up the huge wind power structure is not necessary at all, but that the wind tower under construction can serve as its own crane. This reduces the construction cost of a wind turbine considerably. Additionally, more areas become suitable for placement of wind towers that were inaccessible for heavy cranes before, like dikes, mountain ridges or draughty terrain.
Giant cranes like the one here in Austria won’t be necessary anymore [1:29].
In a move that could be interpreted as a clear sign of confidence in its own renewable energy strategy, Denmark’s Maersk sold its oil and gas division A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S to French oil giant Total. Three months earlier the Danish company Dong Energy (Danish Oil and Natural Gas) sold its North Sea oil and gas production to German-based Ineos AG. Dong apparently wants to concentrate on its offshore wind core business.
Currently Denmark produces 40% of its electricity from renewable energy and plans to achieve more than 50% in 2020. Paradoxically Denmark would not be a major player in offshore wind without the experiences gained in offshore oil first. It looks like Shell is going down the same path.
With the current alarming news coming in from the climate change front, the prospects for offshore wind look extremely good, especially in the North Sea, were 90% of the world’s offshore wind activities are centered. Only a sudden real breakthrough in the field of nuclear fusion could ruin the prospects for offshore wind business.
[bloomberg.com] – World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Maker Waves Oil Industry Goodbye
You can’t be a great power if you have no functioning efficient energy base. In the 20th century that #1 power was the United States and its oil-based economy. In the 19th century that #1 power was Britain and its coal and steam-engine. In the 17th century the #1 power was the Netherlands and its windmill-based economy. Thousands of windmills were used to pump water away to claim new land and sawmills produced the planks with which the Dutch could build a fleet of 30,000 ships, three times more than the rest of the world combined, used to set up a global empire and en passant to keep the English away.
The lesson for the 21st century is that again that political unit will be the geopolitical “top dog” who embraces a new energy base first. That energy base can only be a renewable energy base, born out of the necessity to combat fossil fuel depletion and climate damage. A united Europe is well-placed to be that political unit and the only one with a coherent renewable energy policy (“completely fossil free by 2050”), but China is taking renewable energy serious as well. And although Washington has no real renewable energy policy worth mentioning, on a state level, like Texas and California, successful initiatives do exist. It is too early for anyone to claim victory.
[wikipedia.org] – Energy policy of the European Union
In February 2015 Port of Rotterdam and Sif Group met during an exhibition in Hamburg. In June of that year the two parties signed a contract for the construction of the 500 meter long assembly- and the 120 meter long coatinghall from Sif.
October 24, 2015 the first pile of the hall and in April 2016 the first pile of the deep sea quay was driven into the ground. The construction of the halls went smooth so the first cans and cones from Roermond were delivered in September for assembly. In December, the 200 meter deep deepsea quay was finished and in January 2017 the first load-out of monopiles took place.
Thanks to the excellent cooperation between the Port of Rotterdam and Sif Group we realized a new production facility in just 14 months. Through this production expansion Sif is perfectly equipped to produce 4-5 monopiles per week with a diameter up to 11 meters.
That would be 5 x 6 MW = 30 MW per week or 1.5 GW per year or 50 GW until 2050, when Europe needs to be fossil free. Companies like Sif exist in Germany, Denmark and Spain, see below for an overview of the European (=global) offshore wind foundation industry.
Current Dutch electricity production capacity is 28,7 GW. Assuming a capacity factor of 50% of North Sea offshore wind, this current Sif production capacity would suffice to achieve electricity independence for The Netherlands in 2050. The European monopile market in 2015 was 385 and 560 in 2016. In 2018, Sif alone will be able to produce ca. 250 monopiles. It is likely however that Sif will continue to expand far beyond that number in the coming years.
[sif-group.com] – Company site [Google Maps]
[sif-group.com] – Sif projects
[energieoverheid.nl] – Nederland heeft voorlopig genoeg elektriciteit beschikbaar
[sif-group.com] – De razendsnelle realisatie van Sif op de Maasvlakte 2
[offshorewind.biz] – Dutch Steel: Manufacturer Geared Up for Offshore Wind
[ewea.org] – The European offshore wind industry – key trends and statistics 2015
[windeurope.org] – The European offshore wind industry 2016
[tube-tradefair.com] – FA 07 Monopiles – gigantic pipes for offshore wind farms
References to the producers listed in the diagram according to production capacity:
[de.wikipedia.org] – Erndtebrücker Eisenwerk, Erndtebrück, Germany [Google Maps]
[steelwind-nordenham.de] – Steelwind Nordenham, Germany [Google Maps]
[ambau.com] – Ambau, Mellensee, Germany [Google Maps]
[bladt.dk] – Bladt Industries, Aalborg, Denmark [Google Maps]
[navantia.es] – Navantia, Ría de Ferrol, Spain [Google Maps]
On March 23, 2017 an agreement was signed for the development of an artificial energy island in the middle of the North Sea intended to ease maintenance effort to keep potentially tens of thousands of offshore wind turbines running and to distribute power to neighboring countries.
[independent.co.uk] – North Sea island: Danish, Dutch and German firms launch bid
[tennet.eu] – European Operators to develop North Sea Wind Power Hub
[arstechnica.com] – North Sea: A giant wind farm to power all of north Europe
[deingenieur.nl] – Gigantisch Stopcontact op Eiland Doggersbank
Reason decommissioning: end of economic life
Installation date: 1991
Decommissioning date: March 2017
Turbines: 11 of 450 kW
Water depth: 4 m
Capacity factor: 22.1%
Installation cost: 10 million euro
Cumulative lifetime power: 243 GWh
Danish electricity price consumers: 30 cent/kWh
Turnover consumer price: 79 million euro
The capacity factor was extremely low. More recent Danish offshore wind farm typically have an average capacity factor of 41.5%
[wikipedia.org] – Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm
[Google Maps] – Vindeby, Denmark
[energynumbers.info] – Capacity factors at Danish offshore wind farms
[deepresource] – Nuon Dismantles Offshore Wind Farm in the Netherlands
[source] Amsterdam Airport is the home of KLM
It all began with Dutch Rail, but now Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam wil also run entirely on renewable electricity as of 2018. For that purpose the energy producer Eneco for the next 15 years will deliver 200 GWh annually to Schiphol (64m), the third airport in Europe after London (76m) and Paris (66m) in terms of passengers and surpassed Frankfurt (61m) last year. The electricity will be entirely sourced from ‘Hollandse wind’.
The amount of electricity equals the consumption of a town like Delft (100,000) and will mostly be used for cooling and airconditioning. With 64 million passengers annually, each producing 120 Watt (or 150 Watt if the suitcase is very heavy) at a temperature level of 37 Celsius, there is very little need for space heating. Where Dutch Rail invested in 8 windparks all over Europe, Schiphol will be provided with electricity from new Dutch wind parks only.
Comment: this is exactly what you want to see happening, major top notch companies setting the tone in the energy debate. After Dutch Rail, Schiphol is yet another Dutch company that switches to 100% renewable energy for its (on-the-ground) operations. Expect other major companies not wanting to stay behind and provide themselves with a “green image” as well, creating a run on renewable energy.
This creates a new “problem”: there is not enough supply of renewable energy. However this “corporate green pull” will greatly stimulate offshore installation companies to expand their businesses, backed by fat, multi-year contracts with large companies, eager to show the world how green they are.
[schiphol.nl] – Royal Schiphol Group draait vanaf 2018 volledig op Hollandse wind
[parool.nl] – Schiphol stapt volledig over op Nederlandse windenergie
[wikipedia.org] – List of the busiest airports in Europe
[nos.nl] – Schiphol nu derde luchthaven van Europa
[deepresource] – Contracts Signed for 752 MW Offshore Wind of Dutch Coast
[deepresource] – Dutch Rail Runs 100% on Wind Power
[deepresource] – 100+ Companies Committed to Corporate Renewable Energy
[deepresource] – Electric Flying
[4coffshore.com] – Ports in NW-Europe with offshore wind facilities
Inventory of North Sea ports that function as hubs in the offshore wind construction boom. Esbjerg in Denmark is no doubt the #1 in scale. Other important hubs in no particular order:
Orange Blue Terminal, Eemshaven in The Netherlands.
Offshore Wind Port Bremerhaven in Germany.
Cuxhaven, Germany offshore terminal