The Anonymous Widower

Project To Develop 20+ MW Floating Offshore Wind Technology Kicks Off

This is the introductory paragraph.

A consortium of thirteen partners has launched the NextFloat project in Paris aimed at accelerating the rollout of the next generation of floating wind technology for a competitive, more scalable, and industrial deployment. 

As some of the thirteen partners are serious players in the development and deployment of floating wind, I would assume that they believe that 20+ MW turbines are more than a remote possibility.

I remember in the days of North Sea oil and gas, a senior project manager told me, that as cranes got larger, this meant that modules could get larger and project times got shorter.

As turbines get larger, I wouldn’t be surprised to see construction times for wind farms get shorter.

This will have various beneficial effects.

  • Expensive equipment like cranes and support ships, will not be hired for so long.
  • The wind farm will be commissioned and start to deliver electricity earlier.
  • The total wind turbine capacity installed in a year will increase.

Cashflows will be generally be more favourable all round.

December 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rishi Sunak To Reimpose Fracking Ban

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

This is the first paragraph.

The new PM made the commitment during his first session of PMQs on Wednesday, reversing Liz Truss’s controversial decision to overturn it.

I think it is the right call.

Here’s why!

Cerulean Winds Massive Decarbonisation Project

Consider.

  • At present ten percent of our gas is used to power the oil and gas rigs in the seas around our coasts. The gas is fed into gas-turbines to generate electricity.
  • One simple way to increase gas production by this ten percent, would be to decarbonise the rigs by powering them from nearby wind farms with green electricity and green hydrogen as the Norwegians are proposing to do.
  • A British company; Cerulean Winds has proposed under the Crown Estate INTOG program to decarbonise a significant part of the oil and gas rigs, by building four 1.5 GW wind farms amongst the rigs.
  • The majority of the energy will be sold to the rig owners and any spare electricity and hydrogen will be brought ashore for industrial and domestic users.
  • This massive project will be a privately-funded £30 billion project.
  • And when the oil and gas is no longer needed, the UK will get another 6 GW of offshore wind.

We need more of this type of engineering boldness.

This page on the Cerulean Winds web site gives more details.

INTOG

This document on the Crown Estate web site outlines INTOG.

Other Projects

Decarbonisation has also attracted the attention of other developers.

I can see Rishi Sunak being offered several projects, that will increase our oil and gas security, by some of the world’s best engineers and most successful oil companies.

Rishi Sunak’s ban on fracking will only increase the rate of project development.

We live in extremely interesting times.

 

 

October 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Harbour Energy

This article in The Times in the Tempus column is entitled Oil And Gas Producer Harbour Energy Offers Safe Haven.

This is the first paragraph.

Booming commodity prices mean Harbour Energy is throwing off cash and yet the biggest oil and gas producer in the UK North Sea is still struggling to gain credibility in the eyes of investors.

Reading the column, it does seem a bit of a paradox, when the author says.

  • London-listed oil and gas companies are cheap.
  • Harbour Energy is in the bargain basement.
  • The share price doesn’t reflect the P/E ratio.
  • The company seems to have the money for acquisitions.
  • It doesn’t seem to have taken advantage of the Ukraine situation.
  • Revenues should transform its cash flow position.

The author finishes by recommending to buy the shares.

In Cerulean Winds Is A Different Type Of Wind Energy Company, I introduced Cerulean Winds and their £30 billion plan to decarbonise much of North Sea oil and gas production. This sensational plan is described in full on this page of their web site, which is entitled The Cerulean Winds Intog Scheme.

It strikes me that Harbour Energy could be the sort of energy company that could benefit from Cerulean Winds’s scheme.

  • It could increase their gas production by ten percent.
  • Harbour Energy probably have the money to decarbonise.
  • Would decarbonising their North Sea operations improve the company’s profile?

I will certainly watch for any links between the two companies.

 

 

October 15, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

Full Story Of Hywind Scotland – World’s First Floating Wind Farm

The title of this post, is the same as that of a YouTube video.

I’m posting this, as I spent an enjoyable few months, doing simulations for a similar structure from a company called Balaena Structures, that had been founded by two engineering professors from Cambridge University.

Their structure was to be used as an oil or gas platform.

  • It would have been built horizontally in a dock, where you might build supertankers.
  • It would have been launched and then erected to a vertical position.
  • Equipment would then have been craned on top.
  • The professors also talked of it being held in place by means of the gumboot principle and the large weight.
  • It was also designed to be reusable.

Sadly, they never sold an example.

I said more about my involvement with Balaena Structures in Are Floating Wind Farms The Future?.

 

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cerulean Winds Is A Different Type Of Wind Energy Company

I introduced Cerulean Winds in a post called What Is INTOG?, but I have decided it is too important a concept to be buried in another post.

Cerulean sounds like it could be a sea monster, but it is actually a shade of blue.

This article on offshoreWind.biz is entitled Cerulean Reveals 6 GW Floating Offshore Wind Bid Under INTOG Leasing Round.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Green energy infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds has revealed it will bid for four seabed lease sites with a combined capacity of 6 GW of floating wind to decarbonise the UK’s oil and gas sector under Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round.

This scale will remove more emissions quickly, keep costs lower for platform operators and provide the anchor for large-scale North-South offshore transmission, Cerulean Winds said.

Note.

  1. It is privately-funded project, that needs no government subsidy and will cost £30 billion.
  2. It looks like each site will be a hundred turbines.
  3. If all the sites are the same, they could be 1.5 GW each, with the use of 15 MW turbines.
  4. Each site will need £7.5 billion of investment. So it looks like Cerulean have access to a similar magic money tree as Kwasi Kwarteng.

This paragraph describes their four hundred floating bases.

The steel floating bases would constitute hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel, which unlike cement fixtures, can be floated out from shore which is said to be ideal for the UK.

Building those bases, is a very large project.

On their web site, Cerulean Winds have a page entitled Targeted Oil And Gas Decarbonisation.

This the page’s mission statement.

Cerulean Winds, a green energy & infrastructure developer, is leading a pioneering bid to reduce carbon emissions from oil and gas production through floating offshore wind.

These three paragraphs describe the scheme.

Cerulean Winds pioneering bid proposes an integrated floating wind and hydrogen development across four offshore floating wind farms located West and East of the Shetland Islands and in the North and the South of the Central North Sea (CNS). The objective of the project is to generate electricity from floating wind farms located far offshore on otherwise unallocated and uneconomic seabed areas in order to power oil and gas platforms with green energy.

Cerulean Winds’ dedicated power transmission network will offer both green electrons and green molecules to oil & gas production facilities across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) with surplus energy used in the production of green hydrogen. This dual approach allows the project to support all ages of oil and gas platforms with constant, reliable power and minimal brownfield modifications.

The optimised scale at which Cerulean Winds’ proposed scheme operates makes it the world’s largest decarbonisation project. It offers green energy to operators for asset power generation, delivered through an affordable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Another big advantage is the scheme does not require any public subsidies, but funded entirely through private investment.

That is sensational.

Effectively, they’re building four 1.5 GW power stations in the seas around us to power a large proportion of the oil and gas rigs.

I do have some thoughts.

Who Pays For This Massive Project?

This project overview on the Cerulean web site is entitled The Cerulean Winds INTOG Scheme and it gives many more details of the project.

I will refer to this page as the project overview in the subsequent text.

This is the first sentence of the first paragraph.

Our basin-wide scheme represents more than £30 billion of private investment in a single strategic infrastructure project.

Consider.

  • The London Olympics in 2012 cost £9 billion.
  • The Elizabeth Line will probably cost around £20 billion.
  • The Channel Tunnel in 1994 cost £9 billion.

This project is a lot bigger than these.

Will your spare fifty pounds, still be in your mattress, when Cerulean Winds has put its £30 billion together?

I think so, as this is the last sentence on the page.

The scheme is ‘private wire’ and will not require Government subsidies… being funded entirely through private investment, with no cost to the tax payer.

There will of course, be tax rebates available, as they are for any business from the smallest to the largest.

Green Hydrogen Will Be Produced Offshore

The project overview says this about green hydrogen.

The scheme would use floating offshore wind to power oil and gas assets with surplus energy converted into green hydrogen. Cerulean Winds recognise each brownfield site has a different set of requirements and this would give operators the flexibility to electrify some Brownfield assets without the need to interrupt existing production or shutdown. It would also safeguard oil and gas jobs and create new green energy jobs within the floating wind and hydrogen sectors within the next five years.

The operator will have a choice of energy – electricity or hydrogen.

How Will The Project Earn An Income?

It appears that the project, will have a number of income streams.

The main stream, is described in this sentence from the project overview on the web site.

We have a deep understanding across the energy sector and will partner with the operator to agree the best way to achieve decarbonisation targets at the lowest possible cost. Our approach offers both green electrons and green molecules to the platforms through an affordable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

It looks like the oil and gas companies that own the rigs will be significant contributors to Cerulean’s cash flow.

Green electrons (electricity) and green molecules (hydrogen) will also be brought ashore and sold to various operators and the grid.

What Happens To The Gas That Is Currently Used To Power The Oil And Gas Rigs?

I do wonder, the gas, which will no longer be needed to power the rigs will give a boost to the supply to UK consumers.

They’ve thought of that one.

Under a heading of Reducing Gas Imports, this is said.

The project also aims to maximise recovery of energy from offshore platforms. With few exceptions, each platform have their own gas turbines for power generation, burning gas extracted from the reservoirs. Approximately 10% of the gas produced each year is used in offshore power generation. By replacing the need for gas power generation with a supply of clean, green energy, Cerulean Winds’ project frees important volumes of gas produced by platforms for consumption and reduces the UK’s import of gas from overseas.

This project, when it is fully implemented could increase UK gas production by up to ten per cent.

What’s In It For The Rig Operators?

They will have some benefits.

  • They will cut their carbon dioxide emissions.
  • They will sell about ten percent more of the gas they extract.
  • Decarbonisation will not necessarily mean large capital expenditure on the rig.
  • I also suspect, that some conveniently-placed rigs will be used to send excess hydrogen from Cerulean Winds’ electrolysers to the shore.

Some rig operators will make money from decarbonisation.

When Will The Project Be Complete?

This is the first paragraph on the project overview.

Our basin-wide scheme represents more than £30 billion of private investment in a single strategic infrastructure project. The locations will be West and East of the Shetland Islands and in the Central North Sea (CNS). They will become operational by 2028.

So we don’t have to wait for ever!

What Happens To Cerulean’s Project, When The Oil And Gas Runs Out Or We Stop Using Oil And Gas?

There would now be four 1.5 GW wind farms in the North Sea, that could be connected to the National Grid.

Conclusion

It looks like Cerulean Winds are a very different energy company.

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Is INTOG?

This page on the Crown Estate Scotland web site outlines INTOG.

This is the introduction at the top of the page.

Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas (INTOG) is a leasing round for offshore wind projects that will directly reduce emissions from oil & gas production and boost further innovation.

Developers can apply for seabed rights to build two types of offshore wind project:

IN – Small scale, innovative projects, of less than 100MW

TOG – Projects connected directly to oil and gas infrastructure, to provide electricity and reduce the carbon emissions associated with production

INTOG is designed, in response to demand from government and industry, to help achieve the targets of the North Sea Transition Sector Deal, which is a sector deal between government and the offshore oil and gas industry.

I have a few thoughts and have also found some news stories.

Isolated Communities

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity that were announced yesterday.

The document introduces the concept of Remote Island Wind, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Remote Island Wind.

I don’t know of one, but there might be isolated communities, with perhaps a dodgy power supply, who might like to improve this, by means of a small offshore wind farm, meeting perhaps these criteria.

  • Less than 100 MW.
  • Agreement of the locals.
  • A community fund.
  • An important use for the electricity.

Locations and applications could be.

  • A small fishing port, where winds regularly bring the grid cable down in winter.
  • A village with a rail station to perhaps charge battery-electric trains.
  • A deep loch, where floating wind turbines are erected.
  • To provide hydrogen for transport.

We shall see what ideas are put forward.

Floating Power Stations

Floating wind farms are generally made up of individual turbines on floats.

  • Turbines can be up to the largest used onshore or on fixed foundations.
  • The Kincardine floating offshore wind farm in Scotland uses 9.5 MW turbines.
  • The floats are anchored to the sea bed.
  • There is a power cable connecting the turbines appropriately to each other, the shore or an offshore substation.

But we are talking innovation here, so we might see some first-of-a-kind ideas.

Single Floating Turbines

A large floating wind farm, is effectively a large number of floating wind turbines anchored in the same area of sea, and connected to the same floating or fixed substation.

I can’t see any reason, why a single floating wind turbine couldn’t be anchored by itself to provide local power.

It might even be connected to an onshore or subsea energy store, so that it provided a more constant output.

Surely, a single turbine perhaps ten miles offshore wouldn’t be a very large blot on the seascape?

I grew up in Felixstowe and got used to seeing HM Fort Roughs on the horizon from the beach. That is seven miles offshore and some people, I know have windsurfed around it from the beach.

TwinHub

I talked about TwinHub in Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind.

TwinHub mounts two turbines on one float and this is a visualisation of a TwinHub being towed into place.

Note.

  1. The design turns into the wind automatically, so that the maximum amount of electricity is generated.
  2. A Contract for Difference for a 32 MW TwinHub has been awarded, at a strike price of £87.30/MWh, that will be installed near Hayle in Cornwall.
  3. With a capacity factor of 50 %, that will produce just over 140,160 MWh per year or over £12 million per year.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled Funding Secured For Floating Wind Farm Off Cornwall, gives more details of the Hayle TwinHub.

The possibility of a floating wind farm off the coast of Cornwall has moved a step closer after securing government funding, project bosses have said.

Swedish company Hexicon plans to install its TwinHub system, with the hope it could begin operating in 2025.

It would be deployed about 10 miles (16km) off Hayle.

Project supporters said it could be a boost to the local economy and help establish Cornwall in the growing renewable energy sector.

Figures have not been released, but it is understood the government funding has effectively secured a fixed price for the power TwinHub would produce for 15 years, making it economically viable.

The article says that this 32 MW system could develop enough electricity for 45,000 homes.

This could be a very suitable size for many applications.

  • As at Hayle, one could be floated just off the coast to power a remote part of the country. As Cornwall has a few old mine shafts, it might even be backed up by a Gravitricity system on shore or another suitable non-lithium battery.
  • Could one float alongside an oil or gas platform and be tethered to it, to provide the power?

Scotland’s hydroelectric power stations, prove that not all power stations have to be large to be successful.

Vårgrønn and Flotation Energy’s Joint Bid

This article on offshoreWIND.biz is entitled Vårgrønn And Flotation Energy To Jointly Bid in INTOG Leasing Round, gives a few details about their joint bid.

But there is nothing substantial about ideas and locations.

I can see several joint ventures with a suitable system, bidding for various projects around the Scottish coast.

Cerulean

Cerulean sounds like it could be a sea monster, but it is a shade of blue.

This article on offshoreWind.biz is entitled Cerulean Reveals 6 GW Floating Offshore Wind Bid Under INTOG Leasing Round.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Green energy infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds has revealed it will bid for four seabed lease sites with a combined capacity of 6 GW of floating wind to decarbonise the UK’s oil and gas sector under Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round.

This scale will remove more emissions quickly, keep costs lower for platform operators and provide the anchor for large-scale North-South offshore transmission, Cerulean Winds said.

Note.

  1. It is privately-funded project, that needs no government subsidy and will cost £30 billion.
  2. It looks like each site will be a hundred turbines.
  3. If they’re the same, they could be 1.5 GW each.
  4. Each site will need £7.5 billion of investment. So it looks like Cerulean have access to a similar magic money tree as Kwasi Kwarteng.

Effectively, they’re building four 1.5 GW power stations in the seas around us to power a large proportion of the oil and gas rigs.

For more on Cerulean Winds’ massive project see Cerulean Winds Is A Different Type Of Wind Energy Company.

Will There Be An Offshore Wind Supermarket?

I can see the big turbine, float and electrical gubbins manufacturers establishing a one-stop shop for developers, who want to install small wind farms, that meet the INTOG criteria.

So suppose, the archetypal Scottish laird in his castle on his own island wanted a 6 MW turbine to go green, he would just go to the B & Q Offshore web site and order what he needed. It would then be towed into place and connected to his local grid.

I can see modular systems being developed, that fit both local infrastructure and oil and gas platforms.

Conclusion

I can see scores of projects being submitted.

I even know the son of a Scottish laird, whose father owns a castle on an island, who could be taking interest in INTOG. They might also apply under Remote Island Wind in another leasing round.

But we will have to wait until the end of March 2023, to find out who have been successful.

September 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How Britannia With Help From Her Friends Can Rule The Waves And The Wind

The Government doesn’t seem to have published its future energy plans yet, but that hasn’t stopped the BBC speculating in this article on their web site, which is entitled Energy Strategy: UK Plans Eight New Nuclear Reactors To Boost Production.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Up to eight more nuclear reactors could be delivered on existing sites as part of the UK’s new energy strategy.

The plan, which aims to boost UK energy independence and tackle rising prices, also includes plans to increase wind, hydrogen and solar production.

Other points include.

  • Up to 95% of the UK’s electricity could come from low-carbon sources by 2030.
  • 50 gigawatts (GW) of energy through offshore wind farms, which  would be more than enough to power every home in the UK.
  • One of the big points of contention is thought to have been the construction of onshore wind turbines.
  • Targets for hydrogen production are being doubled to help provide cleaner energy for industry as well as for power, transport and potentially heating.
  • A new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas projects.
  • A heat pump accelerator program.

In this post I shall only be looking at one technology – offshore wind and in particular offshore floating wind.

Who Are Our Friends?

I will start with explaining, who I see as our friends, in the title of this post.

The Seas Around Us

If we are talking about offshore winds around the the UK, then the seas around the UK are surely our biggest and most-needed friend.

The Island Of Ireland

The seas are shared with the island of Ireland and the UK and the Republic must work together to maximise our joint opportunities.

As some of the largest offshore wind farm proposals, between Wales and Ireland involve a Welsh company called Blue Gem Wind, who are a partnership between Irish company; Simply Blue Energy, and French company; TotalEnergies, we already seem to be working with the Irish and the French.

The City Of London

Large insurance and pension companies, based in the City of London like, abrdn, Aviva, L & G and others are always looking for investments with which to provide income to back their insurance business and our pensions.

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I describe why and how, Aviva back wind farms.

Germany

Germany are certainly on our side, despite being in a mess of Mutti Merkel’s making, because she got the country too deeply dependant on Vlad the Mad’s tainted gas.

  • German utilities are providing finance to build wind farms in British waters.
  • German company; Siemens is manufacturing turbine blades in Hull.
  • Germany wouldn’t mind buying any electricity and hydrogen we have spare. Especially, as we haven’t invaded them since 1944.

I suspect a mutually-beneficial relationship can be negotiated.

Norway

I have customised software for a number of countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United States and despite selling large numbers of systems to Norway, the Norwegians never requested any modifications.

They are generally easy-going people and they are great friends of the UK. They were certainly a fertile country for the sale of Artemis systems.

Just as the UK worked together with the Norwegians to deliver North Sea Oil, we are now starting to work together to develop renewable energy in the North Sea.

In UK To Norway Sub-Sea Green Power Cable Operational, I describe how we have built the North Sea Link with the Norwegians, which will link the British and Norwegian energy networks to our mutual benefit.

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I describe an ambitious plan called Northern Horizons, proposed by Norwegian company; Aker to build a 10 GW floating wind farm, which will be 120 km to the North-East of the Shetlands.

Floating Wind Turbines

This is the introduction of the Wikipedia entry for floating wind turbines.

A floating wind turbine is an offshore wind turbine mounted on a floating structure that allows the turbine to generate electricity in water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible. Floating wind farms have the potential to significantly increase the sea area available for offshore wind farms, especially in countries with limited shallow waters, such as Japan, France and US West coast. Locating wind farms further offshore can also reduce visual pollution, provide better accommodation for fishing and shipping lanes, and reach stronger and more consistent winds.

At its simplest a floating wind farm consists of a semi-submersible platform, which is securely anchored to the sea-bed to provide a firm platform on which to erect a standard wind turbine.

There are currently two operational floating wind farms off the East Coast of Scotland and one in the Atlantic off the Portuguese coast.

  • These wind farms are fairly small and use between three and five turbines to generate between 25-50 MW.
  • The largest current floating turbines are the 9.5 MW turbines in the Kincardine Wind Farm in Scotland, but already engineers are talking of 14 MW and 20 MW floating turbines.
  • Experience of the operation of floating wind turbines, indicates that they can have capacity factors in excess of 50 %.
  • Floating wind turbines can be erected on their floats in the safety of a port using a dockside crane and then towed into position.
  • Floating wind turbines can be towed into a suitable port for servicing and upgrading.

Many serious engineers and economists, think that floating wind farms are the future.

The Energy Density of Fixed Foundation And Floating Wind Farms

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I summarised the latest round of Scotwind offshore wind leases.

  • Six new fixed foundation wind farms will give a capacity of 9.7 GW in 3042 km² or about 3.2 MW per km².
  • Ten new floating wind farms will give a capacity of 14.6 GW in 4193 km² or about 3.5 MW per km².

Note.

  1. Floating wind farms have a small advantage in terms of energy density over those with fixed foundations.
  2. Suppose these energy densities are achieved using 14 MW turbines.
  3. Engineers are talking of 20 MW turbines.
  4. Using large turbines could increase the energy density by 20/14 or 43 %

We could see in a few years with 20 MW turbines, fixed foundation turbines having an energy density of 4.6 MW per km², with floating turbines having 5 MW per km².

The Potential Of A Ten-Mile Square In The Seas Around Us

I will assume.

  • It is at least 100 km from land.
  • The water would be at least 100 metres deep.
  • There are no structures in the area.

And calculate.

  • The area will be a hundred square miles, which is smaller than the county of Rutland.
  • This will be 259 square kilometres.

If it were to be filled with floating wind turbines at a density of 5 MW per km², the capacity would be 1300 MW or 1.3 GW.

There must be hundreds of empty ten-mile squares in the seas around us.

Offshore Hydrogen Production And Storage

I believe in the near future, that a lot of offshore wind energy will be converted to hydrogen offshore.

  • Electrolysers could be combined with wind turbines.
  • Larger electrolysers could be combined with sub-stations collecting the electricity.
  • In Torvex Energy, I discuss a method to create hydrogen from seawater, without having to desalinate the water. Surely, this technology would be ideal for offshore electrolysis.

Hydrogen would be brought to shore using pipelines, some of which could be repurposed from existing gas pipelines, that are now redundant, as the gas-fields they served have no gas left.

I also suspect that hydrogen could be stored in a handy depleted gas field or perhaps some form of specialist storage infrastructure.

Combining Wind And Wave Power In A Single Device

Marine Power Systems are a Welsh company, that has developed a semi-submersible structure, that can support a large wind turbine and/or a wave-power generator.

This is the mission statement on their home page.

Marine Power Systems is revolutionising the way in which we harvest energy from the world’s oceans.

Our flexible technology is the only solution of its type that can be configured to harness wind and wave energy, either as a combined solution or on their own, in deep water. Built on common platform our devices deliver both cost efficiency and performance throughout the entire product lifecycle.

Our structurally efficient floating platform, PelaFlex, brings excellent stability and straightforward deployment and maintenance. The PelaGen wave energy converter represents market-leading technology and generates energy at an extremely competitive cost of energy.

Through optimised farm layout and the combination of wind and wave energy, project developers can best exploit the energy resource for any given area of seabed.

We are unlocking the power of oceans.

There is a link on the page to more pages, that explain the technology.

It looks to me, that it is well-designed technology, that has a high-chance of being successful.

It should also be noted that according to this news page on the Marine Power Systems web site, which is entitled MPS Lands £3.5M Of Funding From UK Government, the UK government feel the technology is worth backing.

I certainly believe that if Marine Power Systems are not successful, then someone else will build on their original work.

If wind and wave power can successfully be paired in a single float, then this must surely increase the energy production at each float/turbine in the floating wind farm.

Energy Storage In Wind Turbines

The output of wind farms can be very variable, as the wind huffs and puffs, but I believe we will see energy storage in wind turbines to moderate the electricity and deliver a steadier output.

Using lithium-ion or other batteries may be possible, but with floating offshore turbines, there might be scope to use the deep sea beneath the float and the turbine.

Hybrid Wind Farms

In the latest round of Scotwind offshore wind leases, one wind farm stands out as different. Magnora ASA’s ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm is described as a floating offshore wind farm with a concrete floater.

I can see more wind farms built using this model, where there is another fixed or floating platform acts as control centre, sub-station, energy store or hydrogen electrolyser.

How Much Electricity Could Be Produced In UK And Irish Waters?

I will use the following assumptions.

  • Much of the new capacity will be floating wind turbines in deep water.
  • The floating wind turbines are at a density of around 5 MW per km²

This Google Map shows the British Isles.

I will look at various seas.

The Celtic Sea

The Celtic Sea is to the South-West of Wales and the South of Ireland.

In Blue Gem Wind, I posted this extract from the The Our Projects page of the Blue Gem Wind web site.

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.

Consider.

  • The key figure would appear 50 GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland.
  • Earlier I said that floating turbines can have a wind turbine density of 5 MW per km².
  • According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the Celtic Sea is 300,000 km².

To accommodate enough floating turbines to generate 50 GW would need 10000 km², which is a 100 km. square, or 3.33 % of the area of the Celtic Sea.

This wind generation capacity of 50 GW would appear to be feasible in the Celtic Sea and still leave plenty of space for the shipping.

The Irish Sea

According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the Irish Sea is 46,000 km².

Currently, there are ten wind farms in the Irish Sea.

  • Six are in English waters, three are in Welsh and one is in Irish.
  • None are more than sixteen kilometres from the coast.

The total power is 2.7 GW.

I feel that the maximum number of wind farms in the Irish Sea would not cover more than the 3.33 % proposed for the Celtic Sea.

3.33 % of the Irish Sea would be 1532 km², which could support 7.6 GW of wind-generated electricity.

I can’t leave the Irish Sea without talking about two wind farms Mona and Morgan, that are being developed by an enBW and BP joint venture, which I discussed in Mona, Morgan And Morven. This infographic from the joint venture describes Mona and Morgan.

That would appear to be a 3 GW development underway in the Irish Sea.

Off The Coast Of South-East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire

These wind farms are proposed in these areas.

Note.

All wind farms have comprehensive web sites or Wikipedia entries.

The total capacity of these wind farms is 22.5 GW

The North Sea

According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the North Sea is 570,000 km².

Would it is reasonable to assume, that perhaps a tenth of this area would be available for new wind farms in UK waters?

3.33 % of the available North Sea would be 1898 km², which could support 9.5 GW of wind-generated electricity.

On The East Coast Of Scotland

In Wind Farms On The East Coast Of Scotland, I summarised the wind farms off the East coast of Scotland, that are being built in a cluster in the First of Forth.

This map shows the proposed wind farms in this area.

There are five wind farms in the map.

  • The green area is the cable corridor for Seagreen 1a
  • Inch Cape is the odd-shaped wind farm to the North and West of the green area
  • Seagreen at the top of the map, to the North of Inch Cape.
  • Marr Bank with the pink NE-SW hatching
  • Berwick Bank with the green NW-SE hatching
  • Neart Na Gaoithe is edged in blue to the South of the green area.

Berwick Bank and Marr Bank are both owned by SSE and appear to have been combined.

The capacity of the wind farms can be summarised as follows.

  • Seagreen – 1075 MW
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW
  • Inch Cape – 1000 MW
  • Berwick Bank and Marr Bank – 4100 MW

This gives a total of 6625 MW or just over 6.6 GW.

Around The North Of Scotland

This map shows the latest successful ScotWind leases.

Note.

  1. Several of these proposed wind farms have detailed web sites.

These seventeen leases total up to 24.3 GW.

An Interim Total

I believe these figures are realisable.

  • Celtic Sea – 50 GW
  • Irish Sea – 7.6 GW – 3 GW already underway
  • South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire – 22.5 GW
  • North Sea – 9.5 GW
  • On The East Coast Of Scotland – 6.6 GW
  • Around The North Of Scotland – 24.3 GW

Note.

  1. I have tried to be as pessimistic as possible.
  2. Irish and North Sea estimates are based on Blue Gem Wind’s professional estimate for the Celtic Sea.
  3. I have used published figures where possible.

My estimates total up to 120.1 GW of extra wind-power capacity. As I write this, current UK electricity production is around 33 GW.

Vikings Will Invade

This Google Map shows the Faroe Islands, the North of Scotland, Norway and Denmark.

To get an idea of scale, the Shetland Isles are around 70 miles or 113 km. from North to South.

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I talked about Norwegian company; Aker Solutions’s plan for Northern Horizons.

  • It would be a 10 GW offshore floating wind farm 136 km to the North-East of the Shetlands.
  • This position would probably place it about halfway between the Faroes and the Norwegian coast.
  • The project is best described in this article on the Engineer, which is entitled Northern Horizons Plans Clean Energy Exports For Scotland.
  • In the article, there is a good graphic and a video.

This will be offshore engineering of the highest class, but then I first came across Norwegian offshore engineering like this in the 1970s, where nothing was too difficult for Norwegian engineers.

There are two major points to remember about the Norwegians.

  • They have the Sovereign Wealth Fund to pay for the massive investment in Northern Horizons.
  • They need to replace their oil and gas income, with a zero-carbon investment stream.

I feel that Northern Horizons will not be a one-off and the virgin sea in the map above will be liberally carpeted with more floating wind farms.

  • On Shetland, electricity can be fed into the UK grid.
  • On Norway, electricity can be fed into the Norwegian grid or stored in Norwegian pumped storage systems.
  • On Scotland, more pumped storage systems can be built to store energy.
  • Hydrogen can be piped to where it is needed to decarbonise heavy industry and transport.
  • Norwegian fjords, Shetland harbours, Scottish lochs and possibly Scapa Flow would be ideal places to assemble and service the giant floating turbines and build the other needed floating infrastructure.
  • I can also see Denmark getting in on the act, as they will probably want to decarbonise the Faroe Islands.

I estimate that between the Faroes, Scotland and Norway, there are 510,000 km² of virgin sea.

With a potential of 5 MW per km², that area has the potential to create an amazing amount of both electricity and hydrogen.

Exporting Power To Europe

There will need to be more interconnectors from the UK to Europe.

These are already working.

These are proposed.

There are also gas interconnectors, that could be converted to hydrogen.

This press release from National Grid, which is entitled Undersea Electricity Superhighways That Will Help Deliver Net Zero Move A Step Closer, has these bullet points.

  • Positive progress on plans for £3.4bn electricity super-highway projects – Scotland to England Green Links.
  • Ofgem opens consultation that recognises the “clear case” and “consumer benefit” of two subsea high voltage cables to transport clean between Scotland and England.
  • The cables form part of a planned 16 project £10 billion investment from National Grid to deliver on the government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030.

This paragraph expands on the work by National Grid to meet the third point.

These projects are part of National Grid’s work upgrading the electricity transmission system to deliver the UK government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030. In addition to the Eastern Links, it is developing 14 major projects across its network to facilitate the target representing a £10 billion investment. This includes two further Scotland to England high voltage links (also in partnership with the Scottish transmission network owners) and proposals in the Humber, Lincolnshire, East Midlands, North of England, Yorkshire, North Kent, as well as four in East Anglia (one of which is a proposed offshore link between Suffolk and Kent).

I think we can assume, that National Grid will do their part to allow the UK government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030 to be met.

Will The UK Have 40 GW Of Offshore Wind Generation By 2030?

In the Wikipedia entry for Windpower In The UK, this is the opening sentence.

The United Kingdom is one of the best locations for wind power in the world and is considered to be the best in Europe. By the beginning of March 2022, the UK had 11,091 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 24.6 gigawatts (GW): 14.1 GW of onshore capacity and 10.4 GW of offshore capacity.

It would appear an extra 30 GW of wind power is needed.

In An Interim Total earlier, I gave these figures.

  • Celtic Sea – 50 GW
  • Irish Sea – 7.6 GW – 3 GW already underway
  • South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire – 22.5 GW
  • North Sea – 9.5 GW
  • On The East Coast Of Scotland – 6.6 GW
  • ScotWind – 24.3 GW

The wind farms in South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire and ScotWind and Mona and Morgan are either being planned or under construction, and in many cases leases to construct wind farms are being paid.

I would feel, that at least 30 GW of these 56.4 GW of wind farms will be completed by 2030.

Conclusion

Boris’s vision of the UK becoming a Saudi Arabia of wind is no fantasy of a man with massive dreams.

Standard floating wind turbines, with the possibility of also harvesting wave power could be assembled in ports along the coasts, towed into position and then connected up.

Several GW of wind-power capacity could probably be added each year to what would become the largest zero-carbon power station in the world.

By harvesting the power of the winds and waves in the seas around the British Isles it is an engineering and mathematical possibility, that could have been developed by any of those great visionary Victorian engineers like Armstrong, Bazalgette, Brunel and Reynolds, if they had had access to our modern technology.

Up Yours! Putin!

 

 

 

April 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?

In the 1970s and 1980s, when I was developing Artemis, which was the first desk-sized project management system, we were heavily involved in North Sea Oil, with dozens of systems in Aberdeen.  As Norway developed the oil business on the other side of the North Sea, the number of systems there grew to at least twenty.

Increasingly, I became aware of a Norwegian company called Kværner, which seemed to have large numbers of Artemis systems.

In 2002, Kværner merged with Aker Maritime and this eventually led to the formation of Aker Solutions in 2008, which is a company that is headquartered in Oslo and employs nearly 14,000.

According to Wikipedia, the Kværner name was dropped somewhere along the way, as non-Scandinavians have difficulty pronouncing Kværner.

Aker Solutions appears to be wholly Scandinavian-owned, with Aker ASA owning a third of the company.

They are a very respected company, when it comes to offshore engineering for oil and gas and wind projects.

Aker ASA also have a subsidiary called Aker Horizons, which has this web site, where they call themselves a planet-positive company.

This page on the Aker Horizons is entitled Northern Horizons: A Pathway for Scotland to Become a Clean Energy Exporter.

These first two paragraphs outline the project.

A vision to utilise Scottish offshore wind resources in the North Sea to make the country an exporter of clean energy has been unveiled at the COP 26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

The Northern Horizons Project has been unveiled by Aker Horizons’ portfolio companies Aker Offshore Wind and Aker Clean Hydrogen, who have the technical know-how and expertise to realise the project, and DNV, the independent energy expert and assurance provider.

Various targets and ambitions are listed.

  • 10 GW of renewable energy in the North Sea.
  • 5 GW of green hydrogen.
  • Giant turbines nearly as tall as the London Shard on floating platforms more than 130km from Shetland.
  • Enough liquid hydrogen will be produced to power 40 percent of the total mileage of local UK buses.
  • Enough synthetic fuel to make 750 round trips from the UK to New York.

A completion date of 2030 for this project is mentioned.

This article on The Engineer is entitled Northern Horizons Plans Clean Energy Exports For Scotland.

The article is dated the 4th of November 2021 and starts with this sub-heading and an informative video.

Aker Horizons’ new initiative, Northern Horizons, aims to make Scotland a clean energy exporter by utilising offshore wind resources in the North Sea.

There is an explanatory graphic of the project which shows the following.

  • Floating wind turbines.
  • A floating DC substation.
  • A floating hydrogen electrolyser.
  • An onshore net-zero refinery to produce synthetic aviation fuel and diesel.
  • A hydrogen pipeline to mainland Scotland.
  • Zero-carbon energy for Shetland.

It is all very comprehensive.

These are some other thoughts.

Project Orion

Project Orion how has its own web site and the project that seems to have similar objectives to Northern Horizons.

The title on the home page is Building A World-Leading Clean Energy Island.

There is this statement on the home page.

Orion is a bold, ambitious project that aims to transform Shetland into the home of secure and affordable clean energy.

We will fuel a cleaner future and protect the environment by harnessing the islands’ renewables potential, using onshore and offshore wind, tidal and wave energy.

The graphic has similar features to that Northern Horizons in the article on The Engineer, with the addition of providing an oxygen feed to Skyrora for rocket fuel.

German Finance

I feel very much, that the Germans could be providing finance for developments around Shetland, as the area could be a major source of hydrogen to replace Vlad the Mad’s tainted gas.

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I described how BP is working with German utilities and finance to give Germany the hydrogen it needs.

NorthConnect

The NorthConnect (also known as Scotland–Norway interconnector) is a proposed 650 km (400-mile) 1,400 MW HVDC interconnector over the floor of the North Sea.

  • It will run between Peterhead in North-East Scotland and Norway.

This project appears to be stalled, but with the harvesting of more renewable energy on Shetland, I can see this link being progressed, so that surplus energy can be stored in Norway’s pumped storage hydro.

Icelink

Icelink is a proposed electricity interconnector between Iceland and Great Britain.

  • It would be the longest undersea interconnector in the world, with a length of 620 to 750 miles.
  • It would be a 800–1,200 MW high-voltage direct current (HVDC) link.
  • National Grid is part of the consortium planning to build the link.
  • Iceland has a surplus of renewable energy and the UK, is the only place close enough for a connection.

I believe that if Icelink were to be built in conjunction with energy developments on and around Shetland, a more powerful and efficient interconnector could emerge.

Conclusion

This ambitious project will transform the Shetlands and the energy industry in wider Scotland.

This project is to the North-East of Shetland, but the islands are surrounded by sea, so how many other Northern Horizons can be built in a ring around the islands?

March 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Crossrail: Report Finds Not Enough Money To Finish Project

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

The cost of completing Crossrail exceeds available funding, the government spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office (NAO) estimates the cost of the new rail link will be between £30m and £218m above the current funding.

After such a good start with the tunneling and surface line going well, how did we get here?

My main business for nearly forty years was writing project management software and that gave me a deep insight into the dynamics and mathematics of large projects.

The software, I created in the 1970s; Artemis was deeply involved in the most important project of the time; North Sea Oil.

But then more by luck, than any judgement on my part, it was well suited to solving the management problems of North Sea Oil.

The software ran on a small Hewlett-Packard mini-computer with an attached display and a printer, whose footprint, gave Artemis an advantage over competitors who needed a mainframe, for which there was no office space in Aberdeen.

I had first got involved in scheduling resources at ICI about five years earlier and because from previous experience I knew resources would be critical, I gave the program extensive resource aggregation and scheduling capabilities.

I have been told that the latter proved invaluable in successfully developing North Sea Oil. People may have been flattering me, but I do know that Shell used to ensure that all their suppliers used Artemis, so they could check easily if they were being told the truth.

I suspect that Shell and others used the aggregation capability to see that they weren’t overloading the pool of available labour.

Artemis definitely proved itself capable of handling the various projects in the North Sea.

We have now moved on forty years, but has project management moved on to cope with the advances in technology of the modern world?

As with North Sea Oil in Aberdeen, in the 1970s, Crossrail and other large projects like Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport will always have a need for large numbers of resources, be they men, materiel or machines.

I have some questions.

  • Do all contractors working on Crossrail use the same software?
  • Does Crossrail have the right to inspect the contractors project management systems?
  • Is the upward reporting what it needs to be?
  • Does the software the contractors use, have an aggregation capability?
  • Do Crossrail track and predict the resources needed?

Someone I respect told me, that a lot of modern project management software doesn’t even have an aggregation capability- Enough said!

I must admit, aggregation and scheduling software is difficult to write, so it might be easier to cut it out and let your clients muddle through!

But The Tunnels Were Built On Time And On Budget!

It all started so well, with the first part of the project, which was the boring of the tunnels being completed on time and on budget.

Observing the project, as I did and picking up information from engineers working on the tunnels and various magazines and television programs, I have to come to the conclusion, that the credit for the on time and budget completion must be down to excellent planning.

  • I don’t remember any delays or problems reported in the tunneling. Was that good planning and surveying or luck?
  • There were few if any articles on the BBC or in the Standard complaining about the problems the tunneling was inflicting on Londoners.
  • The planners realised there could be a shortage of workers qualified to work underground, so they built the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy at Ilford, which I wrote about in Open House – TUCA.

Certainly, St Barbara, who is the patron saint of tunnellers looked after the project and its builders.

Worsening The Resource Problem

Crossrail, the Greater London Authority and the Boroughs should have been monitoring this growing resource problem, but I doubt they were in anything other than a perfunctory way!

Instead the politicians were giving planning permission to anybody with money, who wanted to build a shiny new development close to a station.

These projects would need more men, materiel or machines.

As many of these new developments are backed by companies or funds with bottomless pockets to get their developments finished they were prepared to pay more for their labour.

So labour has been deserting Crossrail in droves, thus further delaying the project.

Senior politicians in the Greater London Authority and the boroughs should accept some responsibility for Crossrail’s delay.

They didn’t need to withhold the planning permission, just say that construction of the other projects couldn’t commence until an appropriate phase of Crossrail was open.

In some parts of the world, brown envelopes will have changed hands, but it would be nice to know how many mayors and senior politicians have had holidays in places, they would not normally visit.

Senior project managers tell me, that they would not be surprised if developments along Crossrail had delayed the project.

The Covid Problem

No-one saw Covid coming, except possibly the Chinese.

But good project management is all about negotiating the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

There is the story of the miniMetro production line.

The first body shells coming out of the automated welder were crooked and it turned out that the machine had hit a motorway bridge in Germany. But by good project management using Artemis, British Leyland engineers were able to get the second line working correctly before the first and the car was launched on time.

With Covid, the Mayor shut construction, and it was some months before it restarted again.

I am certain, that with good project management we could have done better.

Covid is also a good excuse for lateness.

On the other hand good project management got the vaccines developed, manufactured and delivered into arms.

Covid also blew a big hole in Transport for London’s finances.

But then so did Sadiq Khan’s Fare Freeze, that brought him to office.

Could Crossrail Have Part-Opened Earlier?

I often ponder this and others ask me if it would be possible.

The Victoria Line was built with crossovers and it was able to open in phases.

Crossrail has crossovers in the following places.

  • Either side of Custom House station
  • To the West of Whitechapel station
  • Between Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations

Note.

  1. It doesn’t appear to have been built for part opening.
  2. From media reports, it appears Whitechapel station is the basket case in the East.

The answer is probably that Crossrail can’t be part-opened, but there are good reasons, why it should be opened earlier.

  • To generate a small amount of revenue.
  • To give travellers and Londoners in general a lift.

The only practical service would be a few trains turning at Farringdon.

Conclusion

I blame politicians for Crossrail being late and over budget.

July 10, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments