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

Blue Gem Wind

Principle Power are the designers of the WindFloat.

The Projects page of the  Principle Power web site led me to a project called Erebus. This is Principle Power’s description of the project.

The Celtic Sea, located between the United Kingdom and Ireland, holds an estimated 50 GW of offshore wind resource. The 96 MW Erebus project, located offshore Pembrokeshire, Wales, is a flagship project planned by Blue Gem Wind, a joint venture between Total and Simply Blue Energy, to unlock the potential of this region.

The project will feature between 7 and 10 turbines on WindFloat® floating platforms located approximately 44 km southwest of the Pembrokeshire coastline.

The Erebus project will see the deployment of a fully industrialized WindFloat® and represents a stepping stone that will allow the local supply chain to build capabilities for the delivery of larger projects under development in the Celtic sea region.

Note.

  1. Developing 50 GW of offshore wind in the Celtic Sea is not a small amount of wind power.
  2. The 96 MW Erebus project would appear to be the first project in the Celtic Sea.
  3. The turbines would be between 9.5 and 14 MW.
  4. The Principle Power website states that the water depth of the Erebus wind farm is seventy metres.
  5. The deployment of a fully industrialized WindFloat.
  6. The Erebus wind farm is being developed by Blue Gem Wind.

It would be larger than the current world’s largest floating wind farm, which is the Kincardine Wind Farm.

Who Are Blue Gem Wind?

Blue Gem Wind have a web site, with a picture of three turbines riding on WindFloats and a couple of support boats and this mission statement.

Floating Offshore Wind

A new generation of energy in the Celtic Sea

The Our Projects page shows a good picture and says this.

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.

A header indicates a stepping-stones approach to assist the local supply chain and says this.

We believe that a stepping stone approach to the development of floating wind in the Celtic Sea brings a number of benefits. Starting with smaller demonstration and early-commercial projects, increasing in size, will help to capture the highest local supply chain content. It will also maximise knowledge transfer and facilitate a sustainable transfer to a low carbon economy.

Because of this focus on stepping stone projects we have proposed Erebus, a 96MW test and demonstration project followed by Valorous, a 300MW early-commercial project.

These links give more details of the two projects.

  • Erebus – 100MW Test & Demonstration project in the Celtic Sea
  • Valorous – A 300MW Early Commercial project in the Celtic Sea

It appears that the company is taking a sensible approach.

  • They are starting small and building up deployment.
  • They are using proven WindFloat technology.
  • They are developing a local supply chain.

This Google Map shows the area of the two wind farms.

Note.

  1. Pembroke in the middle at the top of the map.
  2. Barnstaple and Bideford in Devon in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. Lundy Island off the Devon coast.

I estimate that the two wind farms will be about the Western edge of this map, with Erebus to the North of Valorous. They wouldn’t want to be too far to the West, as that would put them in the shipping lanes between Ireland and France.

Will The Turbines Be Assembled In The Milford Haven Waterway?

This Google Map shows the Milford Haven Waterway.

Note.

  1. Pembroke Dock, where Blue Gem Wind has its offices, is at the Eastern end of the map.
  2. The oil refineries and LNG terminals.
  3. Milford Haven on the North side of the waterway.
  4. The 2.2 GW gas-fired Pembroke power station on the South side of the waterway.
  5. The ferry route between Rosslare and Pembroke Dock.

But as the waterway is one of the deepest natural harbours in the world, I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that the turbines will be lifted on to the WindFloats in this waterway.

The turbines would be brought in by sea and the WindFloats would be towed in from their manufacturing site.

Where Will The WindFloats And Turbines Be Built?

There could be enough space to build the WindFloats in the Milford Haven Waterway, but I suspect they will be built in a shipyard, which is close to a supply of steel. South Wales is an obvious possibility.

I estimate that for the two wind farms between twenty-eight and forty turbines would be needed and these would probably be brought in by sea and then lifted onto the WindFloats somewhere in the Milford Haven Waterway.

It could be a very efficient process.

Will Pembroke Power Station Have A Future Role?

Consider.

  • Pembroke power station is the largest gas-fired power station in Europe.
  • It has a capacity of 2.2 GW.
  • It was only completed in 2012, so it has many years of life yet!
  • It is also probably young enough, to be able to be converted to run on hydrogen.
  • It obviously will have a very good connection to the National Grid.

I would suspect that initially, the power cable from Erebus and Valorous, would use the same grid connection as the power station.

But in the future there must be some interesting ways that the wind farms and the power station can work together.

  • A large electrolyser could be built to create hydrogen for heavy transport and industrial uses, from excess electricity.
  • Could the oxygen from the electrolyser be used for steelmaking in South Wales?
  • As natural gas is phased out the power station could be converted to hydrogen power.
  • In times of low wind, the power station could make up the shortfall.
  • The wind farms could be used as the primary electricity source, with the power station adding the extra power needed to meet demand.

There are certainly ways, the wind farms and the power station can work together.

Conclusion

These two related wind farms seems a good way to start wind developments between the UK and the island of Ireland.

March 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm

I introduced this wind farm in ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations as Lease 15 – The Odd Bid Out.

I said this.

In any design competition, there is usually at least one design, that is not look like any of the others.

In the successful bids for the ScotWind leases, the bid from Magnora ASA stands out.

  • The company has an unusual home page on its offshore wind web site.
  • This page on their web site outlines their project.
  • It will be technology agnostic, with 15MW turbines and a total capacity of 500MW
  • It will use floating offshore wind with a concrete floater
  • It is estimated, that it will have a capacity factor of 56 %.
  • The water depth will be an astonishing 106-125m
  • The construction and operation will use local facilities at Stornoway and Kishorn Ports.
  • The floater will have local and Scottish content.
  • The project will use UK operated vessels​.
  • Hydrogen is mentioned.
  • Consent is planned for 2026, with construction starting in 2028 and completion in 2030.

This project could serve as a model for wind farms all round the world with a 500 MW power station, hydrogen production and local involvement and construction.

I have some thoughts.

The Location Of The Windfarm

This Google Map shows the area between Stornaway and Kishorn.

Note.

  1. The island in the North-West of the map is Lewis and Harris.
  2. The windfarm will be to the North-West of the island.
  3. Stornaway is on the isthmus, that connects the small peninsular on the East of the island.
  4. The port of Stornaway is on the South side of the isthmus.
  5. The port of Kishorn is shown by the red arrow.

This second Google Map shows the town of Stornaway.

Note that Stornaway has a substantial airport in the East and a large port.

This third Google Map shows Loch Kishorn in more detail.

Kishorn Yard at the Kishorn Port was originally built to create the large structures in steel and concrete for the development of North Sea Oil. This is an extract from the Wikipedia entry.

The yard was therefore well suited to build the 600,000-tonne concrete Ninian Central Platform, which was built in 1978. Material was supplied by sea and when complete the platform needed seven tugs to tow it to its operating position in the North Sea. The Ninian Central Platform still holds the record as the largest movable object ever created by man.

If the yard could build the Ninian Central Platform, I’m sure that Magnora ASA intend to build the concrete floater in Loch Kishorn.

The Floating Wind Turbines

In visualisations on the site, the floating wind turbines are shown as sitting on floating three-pointed star structures.

As Technip UK are partners in the project and I suspect they are a subsidiary of  TechnipFMC, who are a well-known company described like this in Wikipedia.

TechnipFMC plc is a French-American, UK-domiciled global oil and gas company that provides complete project life cycle services for the energy industry.

The company would certainly have the expertise to design a floating platform for a wind farm.

Like the WindFloat, it could be based on semi-submersible offshore platform technology.

The Magnora web site, say that 15 MW wind turbines will be used, so these will probably be some of the largest wind turbines in the world.

Currently, the largest floating wind turbines are the 9.5 MW units at the Kincardine Wind Farm in Scotland.

33 x 15 MW wind turbines would give a capacity of 495 MW.

I suspect the turbines would be towed to Stornaway or Kishorn for major servicing.

What Will The Concrete Floater Do?

There are a variety of tasks that the concrete floater could handle.

  • It could collect the electricity from the wind turbines. I suspect this would give advantages in the connection and disconnection of individual turbines into the windfarm.
  • Any electricity conversion necessary would be handled on the floater.
  • The floater would handle the seaward end of the connection to the shore.
  • There could be a battery or energy storage device on the floater.
  • Could a Gravitricity battery or something similar be built into the floater?
  • Magnora mention hydrogen on their web site. Could an electrolyser be built on the floater and the hydrogen distributed to Lewis and Harris by pipeline?

Some oil and gas platforms are very comprehensive and there is no reason why there can’t be substantial processing done on the floater.

The Concrete Floater

According to Wikipedia, offshore concrete structures have been in use successfully for about 50 years. Nearly fifty are in use in the oil and gas industry.

Wikipedia introduces its section on floating concrete structures like this.

Since concrete is quite resistant to corrosion from salt water and keeps maintenance costs low, floating concrete structures have become increasingly attractive to the oil and gas industry in the last two decades.

I also wonder if a floating concrete structure would make a good hydrogen storage tank, if there is electrolysis on the floater on the to turn electricity into hydrogen.

Conclusion

My original conclusion after reading about this wind farm was.

This project could serve as a model for wind farms all round the world with a 500 MW power station, hydrogen production and local involvement and construction.

I have no reason to change my mind and feel that the concept may have even more possibilities.

March 27, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

World’s Largest Floating Offshore Wind Farm Fully Operational

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on offshoreWIND.biz.

This is the first paragraph.

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.

Note.

  1. Wikipedia has a comprehensive section on floating wind turbines.
  2. Kincardine Wind Farm has a capacity of 50 MW.
  3. Its turbines are mounted on WindFloats, which were designed by Principle Power, who have this page on their web site, which describes advantages of the technology.
  4. The Kincardine wind farm appears to have been developed by Spanish company; Cobra and there are pictures on this page on their web site.

The WindFloats are triangular floating structures, which are based on semi-submersible offshore platform technology, that has been used in the offshore oil and gas industry since the early 1960s.

Semi-submersibles have good ship stability and seakeeping, so they would seem to be an ideal way to create a fixed structure in deep water on which to mount a wind turbine.

  • The hull structure can be well below the surface of the sea, so they are not affected by waves.
  • If they have a problem, it is handling changes of load on the platform. But this is an advantage with with wind turbines, as the load will be constant.
  • Standard wind turbines can be used.
  • All platform construction can be onshore rather than in the middle of a ferocious ocean.
  • The platforms can be towed into position and moved into sheltered waters for servicing.

In Are Floating Wind Farms The Future?, which I wrote in 2020, I laid out my experience and views about floating wind farms.

I came to this conclusion.

It is my view, that floating wind farms are the future.

But then I’ve done the mathematics of these structures!

Did Boris’s advisors, as I doubt he knows the mathematics of oblique cylinders and how to solve simultaneous differential equations, do the mathematics or just read the brochures?

I will predict, that today’s structures will look primitive to some of those developed before 2030.

WindFloats seem to have fulfilled my predication and it’s only 2022.

How Big Can Floating Wind Turbines Get?

Platforms like WindFloat would appear to create a stable island that is as secure a mounting, as say a solid hill.

So I suspect that platforms can be created for the world’s largest wind turbines.

This article on offshoreWIND.biz is entitled World’s Largest, Most Powerful Wind Turbine Stands Complete.

This is the first paragraph.

With the final blade in place, the SG 14-222 DD prototype has become the world’s largest and most powerful turbine to be installed, taking the mantle from GE Haliade-X 14 MW prototype operating in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Note.

  1. This is a 14 MW turbine, that can be boosted to 15 MW.
  2. Kincardine Wind Farm has 5 x 9.5 MW and 1 x 2 MW turbines.
  3. Northern Horizons is talking about a 10 GW floating wind farm to the North-East of the Shetlands, that will use 20 MW turbines. The turbine visualisation on their web site, looks like it could be a WindFloat or similar technology.

How many 20 MW turbines does it need to carpet the seas around the UK?

Conclusion

Kincardine Wind Farm may be the world’s largest floating wind farm, but this won’t hold true for long.

  • I can see various designs of semi-submersible platforms being developed, that will be able to support the world’s largest wind turbines.
  • They will also be able to operate in the world’s deepest waters far out to sea.
  • Northern Horizons talk of 20 MW turbines may sound ambitious, but I suspect that turbine engineers are already thinking bigger.

Offshore wind and its turbines will both have a huge future.

 

 

March 25, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | 1 Comment