The Anonymous Widower

Boris Johnson Wants To Build ‘Colossal’ Irish Sea Wind Farm Within A Year

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Telegraph.

This is the sub-title.

Prime Minister tells industry leaders he has ‘a dream’ that giant floating wind farm could provide ‘gigawatts of energy’

These are the first three paragraphs of the article.

Boris Johnson is pushing energy firms to build a “colossal” offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea within 12 months.

The Prime Minister told industry leaders he has “a dream” that a giant floating wind farm could provide “gigawatts of energy and do it within a year”, according to a government source.

He was addressing wind energy firms at a round table discussion in Downing Street as the Government finalised its energy security strategy.

It is said in the article, that industry leaders smiled at the suggestion.

My feelings though are different and I wonder if Boris has been briefed by an offshore wind expert, who knows what they’re doing.

Quietly and unobtrusively, a new technology has been developed, that allows Boris the luxury to dream.

The World’s Largest Floating Wind Farm

In the UK, we are getting used to superlatives being applied to our offshore wind farms.

In this article on offshoreWIND.biz, which is entitled World’s Largest Floating Offshore Wind Farm Fully Operational, this is said.

Located 15 kilometres off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in water depths ranging from 60 metres to 80 metres, Kincardine is the largest operating floating wind farm.

The project consists of five Vestas V164-9.5 MW and one V80-2 MW turbine, each installed on WindFloat® semi-submersible platforms designed by Principle Power.

This picture from Cobra Group shows one of the turbines being towed into position at Kincardine.

There are more pictures on this web page.

WindFloats would appear to be proven technology, as there are now two commercial wind farms using the technology and several others under development.

Erebus And Valorous

But Kincardine Wind Farm won’t be the world’s largest floating wind farm for long!

The next two wind farms, using the technology are Erebus and Valorous, who will provide a total of 400 MW from a company called Blue Gem Wind, which will use larger 14 MW turbines.

They will be installed to the South-West of the Pembrokeshire Coast.

Blue Gem Wind

Blue Gem Wind are based in Pembroke Dock and are a partnership of Simply Blue Energy, a pioneering Celtic Sea energy developer, and TotalEnergies.

Simply Blue Group are an Irish company, who are also working with Shell on the development of 1.35 GW of wind power to the West of Ireland.

50 GW Of Wind In The Celtic Sea

On the Projects page of the Blue Gem website, this is said about floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Floating wind is set to become a key technology in the fight against climate change with over 80% of the worlds wind resource in water deeper than 60 metres. Independent studies have suggested there could be as much as 50GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland. This renewable energy resource could play a key role in the UK meeting the 2050 Net-Zero target required to mitigate climate change. Floating wind will provide new low carbon supply chain opportunities, support coastal communities and create long-term benefits for the region.

Is this Boris’s project?

These are my thoughts.

How Many Turbines Would You Need For 50 GW?

If you need 7 x 14 MW turbines for each 100 MW, that would mean you need 3500 turbines and WindFloats for 50 GW.

How Would Each Turbine Be Installed?

It appears from pictures on the Cobra Group web site, that the turbine is mounted on the WindFloat using a large crane on a dock, whilst the WindFloat is alongside.

  • The WindFloat and the turbine are then towed out into the desired position.
  • It would then be anchored to the sea-bed.
  • Finally, it would be connected to the power network.

I would doubt, that one team could probably install more than one turbine per day.

But I suspect more than one team could work in and out of one port at a time.

How Many Ports Could Be Used For Turbine Assembly?

As Blue Gem Wind is based in Pembroke Dock, I would assume that one of the ports would be on Milford Haven Waterway.

But there are other ports on the Welsh and Irish coasts, where the turbine lift could be accomplished.

How Much Capacity Could Be Installed In Twelve Months?

Suppose you had two ports doing assembly, with two teams working at each port, which would mean four turbines could be installed in a day.

  • In a month, that would be 4 x 14 x 30 MW per month.
  • This is nearly 1.7 GW per month or 20 GW per year.

It does appear to me, that floating wind farms with the right project management could be very much quicker to install than traditional fixed foundation wind turbines.

I believe that if we get the manufacturing and the project management right, that a colossal 20 GW of floating wind can be installed in twelve months.

Conclusion

Most people won’t believe Boris’s claim, but I feel that there is a degree of reality behind it, if we can produce four WindFloats and four turbines per day and enough cables and electrical gubbins to link them all together.

April 3, 2022 - Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. He had a dream of a bridge across the Irish Sea that didn’t get very far.

    Mind you i see Tory tank & file are pushing back on anymore onshore wind so offshore is the only way to go

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | April 3, 2022 | Reply

    • No-one’s done it yet, but if you put a wind turbine on one of these floats a hundred kilometres out to sea, in water a hundred metres and more deep, I wonder, if there’s an energy storage solution, that uses the space under the float. If someone can do that they’d make a fortune.

      Comment by AnonW | April 3, 2022 | Reply

  2. Boris doesn’t need new technology to allow him the luxury to dream. Apart from a close run thing on Brexit tell me of one of his dreams that has ‘succeeded’.
    While I agree that floating wind farms could be much quicker to install than traditional fixed foundation wind turbines, I’m afraid I have to disagree with your assessment that as we stand, installing an offshore this wind farm can be achieved within 12 months. Firstly there is the question of resolving outstanding commercial issues (always goes on for more time than is imaginable), then there is the matter of materials procurement from a range of suppliers, component manufacturer, we can’t even assure simple everyday products at the moment. And then there’s assembly both of individual units, like gearboxes, generators, inverters which are finally put together with the structural elements to form the turbine, the floating platform and the anchoring system. Having completed those tasks there’s the question of supporting systems which require connection to the shore-based facilities necessary for incorporation into the Grid.
    All of the foregoing assume not only that there are not competing calls from other ‘customers’ with their priorities, but you’ve also got the human resources and the marine support services plus favourable weather; still why am I telling you this, that’s why you and your colleagues developed your support software.

    Comment by fammorris | April 4, 2022 | Reply


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