The Anonymous Widower

Has The NorthConnect Interconnector Been Binned?

If you type “NorthConnect interconnector” into Google and select News, the latest stories are from March 2020.

One story from that date is this article on Energy Live News, which is entitled Norway Postpones Decision On Interconnector To Scotland.

These are the first three paragraphs.

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) has postponed a decision on whether to allow the construction of a new subsea power cable between Norway and Scotland.

The 1,400MW Project NorthConnect, which is partly owned by Swedish energy group Vattenfall, has been put on hold pending public consultation and performance and cost reviews of similar projects under construction.

Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru, said: “The Norwegian and Nordic power system is going through significant changes, at a rapid pace. Two new interconnectors, to the UK and Germany respectively, will be commissioned in the near future.

The NorthConnect web site has some community news from last year.

So has this project been binned?

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , | 12 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Future Offshore Wind Power Capacity In The UK

I am building this table, so that I can get a feel for the electricity needs of the UK.

According to Wikipedia, on February 2020, there were thirty six offshore wind farms consisting of 2180 turbines with a combined capacity of 8113 megawatts or 8.113 gigawatts.

Currently, these offshore wind farms are under construction, proposed or are in an exploratory phase.

  • Triton Knoll – 857 MW – 2021 – Under Construction
  • Hornsea Two – 1386 MW – 2022 – Under Construction
  • Moray East – 960 MW – 2022 – Under Construction
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW – 2023 – Under Construction
  • Seagreen Phase 1 – 1075 MW – 2023 – Under Construction
  • Doggerbank A – 1200 MW – 2023/24 – Proposed
  • Doggerbank B – 1200 MW – 2024/25 – Proposed
  • Doggerbank C – 1200 MW – 2024/25 – Proposed
  • Moray West – 1200 MW – 2024/25  – Exploratory
  • Hornsea Three – 2400 MW – 2025 – Proposed
  • East Anglia One North 800 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Two – 900 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Three – 1400 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • Sofia Offshore Wind Farm Phase 1 – 1400 MW – 2023/2026 – Under Construction
  • Hornsea Four – 1000 MW (?) – 2027 – Exploratory
  • Rampion Two Extension – 1200 MW – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Vanguard – 1800 MW – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Boreas – 1800 MW – Exploratory

Note.

  1. The date is the possible final commissioning date.
  2. I have no commissioning dates for the last three wind farms.
  3. Wikipedia says that the Hornsea Four capacity is unknown by Ørsted due to the ever increasing size of available wind turbines for the project.

I can total up these wind farms by commissioning date.

  • 2021 – 857 MW
  • 2022 – 2346 MW
  • 2023 – 1525 MW
  • 2024 – 1200 MW
  • 2025 – 6000 MW
  • 2026 – 4500 MW
  • Others – 5800 MW

I can draw these conclusions.

  • Total wind farm capacity commissioned each year is increasing.
  • It looks like there will be a capacity to install up to 5000 or 6000 MW every year from about 2025.
  • If we add my figures for 2021-2026 to the 8113 MW currently installed we get 24541 MW.
  • Adding in 6000 MW for each of the four years from 2027-2030 gives a total of 48541 MW or 48.5 GW.

As I write this on a Sunday afternoon, wind power (onshore and offshore) is supplying 13 GW or forty-four percent of our electricity needs.

I have further thoughts.

Parallels With North Sea Oil And Gas

I was very much involved in the development of North Sea oil and gas, as my software was used on a large number of the projects. I had many discussions with those managing these projects and what was crucial in shortening project times was the increasing availability of bigger rigs, platforms and equipment.

Big certainly was better.

I believe that as we get more experienced, we’ll see bigger and better equipment speeding the building of offshore wind farms.

Reuse of Redundant North Sea Oil And Gas Platforms

Don’t underestimate the ability of engineers to repurpose redundant oil and gas platforms for use with windfarms.

Electrolysers on the platforms can convert the electricity into hydrogen and use redundant gas pipes to bring it ashore.

Some processes like steelmaking could use a lot of hydrogen.

Platforms can be used as sub-stations to collect electricity from windfarms and distribute it to the various countries around the North Sea.

Hydrogen

Some processes like steelmaking could use a lot of hydrogen. And I don’t think steelmakers would be happy, if the supply was intermittent.

So why not produce it with giant electrolysers on redundant oil and gas platforms and store it in redundant gas fields under the sea?

A large store of hydrogen under the sea could have the following uses.

  • Steelmaking.
  • Feedstock for chemical manufacture.
  • Transport
  • Power generation in a gas-fired power station, that can run on hydrogen.

It would just need a large enough hydrogen store.

Energy Storage

This large amount of wind power will need a large amount of energy storage to cover for when the wind doesn’t blow.

Some of this storage may even be provided by using hydrogen, as I indicated previously.

But ideas for energy storage are coming thick and fast.

The North Sea Link To Norway

The North Sea Link is much more important than an interconnector between Blyth in Northumberland and Norway.

  • At the Norwegian end the link is connected to a vast pumped storage energy system in the mountains of Norway.
  • This pumped storage system is filled in two ways; Norwegian rain and snow and UK wind power through the interconnector.
  • In times of need, we can draw electricity through the interconnector from Norway.
  • It has a capacity of 1.4 GW.
  • It was delivered on time for a cost of around €2 billion.

It can almost be thought of as an international bank of electricity and is probably one of the most significant pieces of European infrastructure built in recent years.

There are also plans to build NorthConnect, that would connect Peterhead in Scotland to Norway.

Conclusion

It looks like we’ll be able to reap the wind. And possibly 50 GW of it!

 

January 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , | 2 Comments