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Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world

From The Guardian

The wind rips along the Humber estuary in Hull. It’s the kind that presses your coat to your back and pushes you on to your toes. “A bit too windy,” shouts Andy Sykes, before his words are swept away. He is the head of operational excellence at the Siemens factory, which supplies blades – the bits that turn – to windfarms in the North Sea. At 75 metres long, they are hard to manoeuvre when it’s gusting.

Inside the vast factory hall, the blades lie in various states of undress. Several hundred layers of fibreglass and balsa wood are being tucked into giant moulds by hand. There are “naked” blades that require paint and whose bodies have the patina of polished tortoiseshell. Look through the hollow blades from the broadest part, and a pale green path, the tinge of fibreglass, snakes down the long tunnel, tapering to a small burst of daylight at its tip.

“Alice in Wonderland,” Sykes says. “That’s how I feel. That’s the emotion coming through. It’s 75 metres long. We know that. But stood here the perspective is just fantastic. It’s my favourite view.” Down this strange green rabbithole is a glimpse of a greener future, the possibility of a world powered by wind.

This is not as fanciful a vision as it once seemed. In the UK, the wind energy industry is celebrating. Last month, the cost of renewable energy dropped dramatically to undercut by almost half the government’s projections for 2025. At £57.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh), it is far cheaper than the state-backed price of £92.50 awarded in 2016 to Hinkley nuclear power station. The speed of wind’s progress is extreme and inarguable.

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Offshore wind farms will change life in the sea

From The Economist

IN THE North Sea, wind power is booming. At the moment the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, with a capacity of 630MW, sits in the Thames Estuary. But the London Array, as this farm is known, will not hold the record for long. Another farm, over twice the size, is under construction off the coast of Yorkshire. Of the six countries with the most installed offshore capacity, five are part of the North Sea’s littoral. (The exception is China.) Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm that keeps a close eye on the industry, reckons the world’s offshore wind-generation capacity will quadruple by 2025.

Given the need to cut carbon emissions, that is welcome news. But, just because wind turbines produce little carbon dioxide does not mean they have no environmental impact. In a study posted on the arXiv, an online repository of scientific papers, Kaela Slavik and her colleagues at the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, in Geesthacht, Germany, explore the effects that the turbines might have on local wildlife.

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Offshore wind setting sail in North America

By Lance Marram, CEO
Senvion North America
For Windpower Engineering and Development

We are slowly beginning to consider harnessing the wind off of our coasts in North America by developing more offshore wind-power projects. To date, a small five-turbine wind farm and a handful of pilot projects have been developed in the U.S. The industry has been focused on setting standards, developing regulations, and auctioning offshore waters for potential development. While, in Europe, the offshore wind sector continues to grow and is successfully working on measures to reduce costs.

The industry standard for offshore turbines is a nominal capacity of 5 to 6 MW. In the near future, 10+ MW turbines are expected. While the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany are leading in offshore wind power, the U.S. is learning from such frontrunners. Most experts agree that in North America, the potential for offshore wind power means one thing: huge economic opportunities.

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Denmark’s biggest energy company turns its back on fossil fuels

From Eco-Business

Denmark’s biggest energy company, DONG Energy, is halfway through a 10-year transformation journey from a reliance on fossil fuels to sustainable and non-polluting energy.

In February this year, the $154 billion company announced that all of its power plants will phase out coal by 2023, and run on biomass instead. On September 29, the company divested all of its oil and gas businesses. On October 2, it announced that it will be dropping its current name and will change to Ørsted, in honour of the discoverer of electromagnetism, Danish physicist and chemist Charles Hans Ørsted.

Thomas Thune Andersen, chairman of the board of directors, said that the old name no longer represents who they are as a company. “With our profound strategic transformation and the divestment of our upstream oil and gas business, this is no longer who we are. Therefore, now is the right time to change our name,” he said.

“Green energy is now cheaper than black energy. This also gives the world a unique opportunity to take real action against climate change and create a world that runs entirely on green energy,” said Henrik Poulsen, chief executive officer for DONG Energy, which is changing its name to Orsted.

This year, DONG Energy became the world’s largest offshore wind company, owning 16 per cent of the global wind energy market. It is building the world’s largest wind farms, such as the 1,200 MW Hornsea 1 and the 1,386 MW Hornsea 2 off the coast of England, and has investments in major offshore wind projects in North America.

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Falling offshore prices reveal UK supply chain, grid build savings

From New Energy Update

Last month the UK government awarded 15-year contracts for difference (CFDs) to three new UK offshore wind projects at prices as low as 57.50 pounds per MWh ($78.1/MWh).

Dong Energy was awarded a contract at 57.50 pounds/MWh for its 1.4 GW Hornsea Project Two off England’s north-east coast, which will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm. EDPR and Engie were awarded a CFD at the same price for their 950 MW Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) project in Scotland. Innogy and Statkraft were allocated a contract at a price of 74.50 pounds/MWh for their 860 MW Triton Knoll offshore project off England’s east coast. The three new projects are due to start electricity production from 2022-2023.

The contract prices were around half the price of contracts awarded in the last UK offshore wind tender in February 2015, showing how economies of scale, growing installation experience and technology advancements are driving down costs.

The bids were not as low as prices paid in other recent European offshore tenders, as UK developers are required to take on additional project risks in site development and transmission grid construction. However, the UK prices were far lower than most expected and show that developers are finding innovative ways to weave grid build risks into lower-cost project structures.

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£2m Centre of Excellence for offshore wind industry launched

From the Hull Daily Mail

The University of Hull and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have launched a £2 million Centre of Excellence for the offshore wind industry.

The offshore wind Operations and Maintenance Centre of Excellence will be launched in the region as a result of the five-year partnership.

The collaboration will see a series of research and innovation projects developed to improve the way offshore wind farms are operated and maintained.

The launch follows last month’s announcement a contract has been awarded to build the world’s biggest offshore wind farm off the coast of East Yorkshire.

The Westermost Rough offshore wind farm Hornsea Project Two will be completed by Dong Energy, which will soon be renamed Orsted, and will hopefully create 2,000 jobs during construction and another 130 full time jobs when it is up and running.

Dr David Richards, pro vice chancellor for research and enterprise at the University of Hull, said: “This collaboration between the University and ORE Catapult is a step change for the Energy Estuary and the UK’s offshore wind industry as a whole.

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Dong Energy changes name to Orsted, moves away from oil and gas, goes big on renewables

From CNBC

Danish energy powerhouse Dong Energy is to change its name to Orsted, it has been announced.

“Dong was originally short for Danish Oil and Natural Gas,” Thomas Thune Andersen, chairman of the board of directors, said in a statement Monday. “With our profound strategic transformation and the divestment of our upstream oil and gas business, this is no longer who we are. Therefore, now is the right time to change our name.”

The past 10 years has seen Dong Energy move away from coal and oil and embrace renewable energy. As well as divesting its upstream oil and gas business, the company has made the decision to halt all use of coal. Carbon emissions have been cut by 52 percent since 2006. By 2023, carbon emissions will have been slashed by 96 percent when compared to 2006, the firm said.

CEO Henrik Poulsen said Monday that Orsted was now dedicated to green energy. “Our focus going forward will be on green growth based on our existing business platforms in offshore wind, biomass, green customer solutions and advanced waste-to-energy solutions,” he said.

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DONG to use BMO vessel-monitoring system

From OffshoreWIND.biz

DONG Energy has contracted BMO Offshore to equip their crew transfer vessels with Vessel Motion Monitoring Systems (VMMS) in the UK.

DONG Energy will use the VMMS to track long term performances of the crew transfer vessels and the efficiency of the fleet regarding site conditions and workload.

After initial testing in the spring, DONG Energy concluded that using the VMMS to quantify the performance of the vessels and evaluating their utilization for a long period can generate substantial efficiency improvements.

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Wind power ‘may just save the planet’, says Doctor Who

From Energy Voice

Actor Peter Capaldi has helped to launch a new campaign backing offshore wind as the future of UK energy, in the wake of tumbling prices for the technology.

The star of The Thick Of It and Doctor Who said offshore wind “may just save the planet” as he helped unveil the campaign at Westminster Tube station in central London, which has been taken over with posters advertising the fall in prices.

The campaign by a coalition of environmental groups and companies is highlighting that the cost of offshore wind power has fallen by half since 2015, with the latest schemes securing guaranteed prices of as low as £57.50 for the electricity they generate.

This price makes the technology cheaper than nuclear, and even gas, and should make it the “natural choice” to play a leading role in the energy mix, backers say.

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