After TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), Energinet (Denmark), TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) and Gasunie (Netherlands), it is now the Port Authority of Rotterdam that is backing plans to build one or more wind power hub islands in the middle of the North Sea, starting from 2025. This is significant as the Port Authority has broad experience in acquiring new land from the sea. These hubs could play an important role in realizing the intended 70 GW to 150 GW offshore wind power in the North Sea by 2040. Adhering to the Paris Accords, 180 GW needs to be installed in the North Sea by 2045. Every energy island should collect 10-30 GW and transport the energy via connectors to the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Britain.
The second use of these socalled Power Link Islands is the production of hydrogen via power-to-gas conversion installations and brought onshore via existing pipeline infrastructure. And thirdly, large converterstations in the middle of the sea would no longer be necessary. And finally, these islands could function as maintenance hubs for nearby wind parks.
[tennet.eu] – Havenbedrijf Rotterdam vijfde partner in North Sea Wind Power Hub-consortium
[tennet.eu] – TenneT presenteert ideeën voor schaalvergroting van windenergie op Nederlandse Noordzee
[northseawindpowerhub.eu] – North Sea Wind Power Hub
As of now, large wind turbines can be assembled without the need for the usual external giant cranes. Instead the wind tower under construction can be used itself as a crane. this reduces the cost of wind turbines construction considerable. The Lagerwey L136-4.5MW costs 4,5 million Euro if constructed conventionally. By applying the self-climbing crane, cost reduction amounts to “several hundreds of thousands of euro” over the total cost of the wind turbine.
Additionally it is now possible to install a wind tower at hard-to-reach places, like mountains ridges or dikes. Old school cranes require a transportation effort of 150 truck trailers, the self-climbing crane merely three. Additionally it is no longer necessary to prepare the ground for the weight of large eternal cranes. Installation cost self-climbing cranes: 20% of the conventional installation cost.
Location: Gaildorf, Baden-Wuertenberg, Germany
Hub height: 178 m
Total height: 246 m
Investment: $81 M
Yearly return: $7.6 M
Annual production: 10.5 GWh
Payback time: 10.6 year
Apart from these impressive figures, the turbine has an innovation in the form of a “natural storage” facility. At the bottom of the tower, the turbine has a water reservoir of 40,000 m3 that communicates with a lake reservoir at 200 m lower altitude and connected with a 5 km long pipe. This reservoir represents a potential energy of 22.2 MWh or five hours worth of max. windturbine output. Energy efficiency: 80%.
[windpowerengineering.com] – Max Bögl Wind puts turbine on THE tallest tower
[de.wikipedia.org] – Naturstromspeicher Gaildorf
[naturspeicher.de] – The Naturstromspeicher – Our Big Green Battery
[wattisduurzaam.nl] – ’s Werelds hoogste windmolen staat in een piepklein stuwmeer
America has an archaic protectionist law called the Jones Act from 1920. The law says that transport between two American harbors can be done only with American-built ships with an American crew. This law effectively kills US offshore wind development before it gets a chance to be born, because America, as an offshore wind developing nation, doesn’t have the equipment to install offshore wind parks. Offshore wind technology is world-wide for more than 90% a North-West European affair, with installation vessels and crew all-European. European offshore installation in American waters violates the Jones Act.
The US has currently only one “windpark”, Block Island near NYC: 5 turbines with a 30 MW capacity, build by Europeans. When the Norwegian shipping company Fred Olsen crossed the Atlantic, the installation ship was not allowed to dock in a US harbor. This is not good for US offshore wind.
Now a Dutch company GustoMSC has come up with a simple design that can be constructed and operated by Americans and as such start the long overdue offshore wind development near the US coasts.
[gustomsc.com] – GustoMSC Reveals SEA-3250-LT
[wikipedia.org] – Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (“Jones Act”)
[deepresource] – The Seven Brothers – Europe Taking Lead in US Offshore
[deepresource] – The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea
[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Antieke wet frustreert offshore wind in VS, Nederland schiet te hulp
The Netherlands, currently the bottom of the barrel in Europe as far as installed renewable energy is concerned, has ambitious plans to change that. The port of IJmuiden, 15 km West of Amsterdam. wil play a central role in building more than 14 GW of offshore wind power in the coming years. Projects IJmuiden Ver and Hollandse Kust (“IJmuiden Far” and “Dutch Coast” resp.).
State of the art offshore installation. Can it really be done more economically than this?
The cheapest and fastest way to install an offshore wind turbine is to assemble it completely onshore first, including the monopile. That’s the outcome of research done by the University of Delaware. The method employed is to not work with a single large monopile ramed into the sea floor, but with several “buckets” that are suctioned into the sea floor at less depth and less acoustic impact for sea mammals. Starting base was a hypothetical large 1 GW offshore wind farm in the Delaware Wind Energy Area off Rehoboth Beach, Del., using the port near Delaware City and working with 10 MW turbines. Results: $1.6 billion less cost and only half the construction time.
Pictures from Schiedam harbor near Rotterdam. The 900 tons crane of the offshore wind jack-up vessel Aeolus is being replaced with a 1600 tons one to prepare the ship for installation of heavier 8 MW wind turbines. Investment volume 300 million euro. The ship is playing an important role in getting the planned 4.5 GW offshore wind capacity installed by 2020 (Germany 6.5 GW and UK 10 GW by 2020). The Aeolus is able top operate in water depths of up to 45 m. The crane adaption has to be made only 3 years after the ship was commissioned, illustrating the rapid pace with which the offshore wind sector is developing and subsequent price decline.
In 2016 the Dutch government was prepared to subsidize 12 cent/kWh, but Danish Dong offered to do it for 7.27 cent. Later Shell, Van Oord, Eneco and Mitsubishi/DGE were awarded the tender for Borssele III & IV for merely 5.45 c/kWh. In Germany tenders were awarded for wind parks to be built in 2024-2025 with no subsidy at all. Won’t be long until wind developers will be fighting over available offshore locations for the privilege of being allowed to build ever larger wind farms.
In 2017 technology has advanced to the tune that monopiles are installed with an 8 m diameter, 80 m long and weighing 1300 tons. Vestas and Siemens are building 8 MW turbines and the next steps towards 10-15 MW machines are being prepared. The Aeolus can install one foundation per day.
[heavyliftnews.com] – “Aeolus” of Van Oord being upgraded with stronger Crane
[maritiemnieuws.nl] – Huisman gaat voor 300 miljoen aan nieuwe kranen bouwen
[ayop.com] – Van Oord lays strong foundations for wind
[maritiemnederland.com] – Waar liggen de limieten in offshore wind?
[noordzeeloket.nl] – Noordzeeloket
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