The Anonymous Widower

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Actions To Expand U.S. Offshore Wind Energy

The title of this post is the same as that of this fact sheet from the White House briefing room.

This is the sub-title.

Departments of Energy, Interior, Commerce, and Transportation Launch Initiatives on Floating Offshore Wind to Deploy 15 GW, Power 5 Million Homes, and Lower Costs 70% by 2035.

Some points from the fact sheet.

  • The President set a bold goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes with clean energy, support 77,000 jobs, and spur private investment up and down the supply chain.
  • Conventional offshore wind turbines can be secured directly to the sea floor in shallow waters near the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • However, deep-water areas that require floating platforms are home to two-thirds of America’s offshore wind energy potential, including along the West Coast and in the Gulf of Maine.
  • Globally, only 0.1 GW of floating offshore wind has been deployed to date, compared with over 50 GW of fixed-bottom offshore wind.
  • The Floating Offshore Wind Shot will aim to reduce the costs of floating technologies by more than 70% by 2035, to $45 per megawatt-hour.
  • The Administration will advance lease areas in deep waters in order to deploy 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035.

This all seems to be ambitious!

But!

It could be possible that little Scotland installs more floating wind farms before 2035, than the United States.

And what about England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

  • England hasn’t announced any floating wind farm projects, but has around 17 GW of fixed-foundation offshore wind farms under development in the shallower waters along the East and South coasts.
  • In Two Celtic Sea Floating Wind Projects Could Be Delivered By 2028, I looked at prospects for the Celtic Sea between Wales, Ireland and Devon/Cornwall. It is possible that a GW of floating wind could be developed by 2028, out of an ultimate potential of around 50 GW.
  • Northern Ireland is a few years behind England and Scotland and might eventually make a substantial contribution.

But Biden’s aims of a strong supply chain could be helped by Scotland, as several of the floating wind farms in Scotland are proposing to use WindFloat technology from Principle Power, who are a US company. The Principle Power website has an explanatory video on the home page.

 

September 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Three Shetland ScotWind Projects Announced

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on Crown Estate Scotland.

These three paragraphs outline how the leases were allocated.

Three projects will be offered seabed agreements for offshore wind projects following Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind clearing process.

The announcement comes as an offshore wind supply chain summit is held in Aberdeen today (22 August) with Sir Ian Wood, chaired by Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, and including a keynote address by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP. 

Clearing saw the ‘NE1’ area east of Shetland made available for ScotWind applicants who met the required standards but who did not secure their chosen location earlier in the leasing process.

I think it was good idea to offer these leases to those bidders that failed to get a lease, the first time around, despite meeting the standards.

  • Would it encourage bidders, if they knew that after the expense of setting up a bid, that if they failed, they could have another chance?
  • It must also save the Scottish Government time and money checking out bidders.
  • How many times have you interviewed several applicants for a job and then found jobs for some of those, that you didn’t choose for the original job?

Let’s hope the philosophy has generated some good extra contracts.

This map from Cross Estate Scot;and shows all the contracts.

Note the three new leases numbered 18, 19 and 20 to the East of Shetland, in the North-East corner of the map.

Their details are as follows.

  • 18 – Ocean Winds – 500 MW
  • 19 – Mainstream Renewable Power  – 1800 MW
  • 20 – ESB Asset Development – 500 MW

Note.

All are floating wind farms.

  1. Ocean Winds is a Spanish renewable energy company that is developing the Moray West and Moray East wind farms.
  2. Mainstream Renewable Power appear to be a well-financed and ambitious company, 75 % owned by Aker.
  3. ESB Energy appear to be an experienced energy company owned by the Irish state, who operate several wind farms and Carrington gas-fired power station in the UK.

2.8 GW would appear to be a generous second helping.

Ocean Winds and Mainstream Renewable Power

This web page on the Ocean Winds web site, is entitled Ocean Winds Designated Preferred Bidder For Seabed Leases For 2.3 GW Of Floating Projects East Of Shetland, Scotland, contains several snippets of useful information.

  • Crown Estate Scotland announced the result of ScotWind Leasing round clearing process, awarding Ocean Winds with two seabed leases for floating offshore wind projects: a 1.8 GW capacity site with partner Mainstream Renewable Power, and another 500 MW capacity site, east of the Shetland Islands.
  • Ocean Winds’ international portfolio of projects now reaches 14.5 GW of gross capacity, including 6.1 GW in Scotland.
  • Floating wind turbines for the two adjacent sites are confirmed, because of the water depth.
  • The partners are committed to developing floating offshore wind on an industrial scale in Scotland, generating local jobs and opportunities in Scotland and the Shetland Islands.
  • From the picture on the web page, it looks like WindFloat technology will be used.
  • Ocean Winds developed the WindFloat Atlantic project.

Ocean Winds appear to want to go places.

The Shetland HVDC Connection

The Shetland HVDC Connection will connect Shetland to Scotland.

  • It will be 160 miles long.
  • It will have a capacity of 600 MW.
  • It is estimated that it will cost more than £600 million.
  • It will allow the 66MW Lerwick power station to close.
  • It will be completed in 2024.

I have a feeling that all these numbers don’t add up to a sensible answer.

Consider.

  • The three offshore wind farms can generate up to 2800 MW of green electricity.
  • With a capacity factor of 50 %, an average of 1400 MW of electricity will be generated.
  • The Viking onshore wind farm on Shetland could generate up to 450 MW.
  • More wind farms are likely in and around Shetland.
  • Lerwick power station can probably power most of the Shetland’s needs.
  • Lerwick power station is likely to be closed soon.
  • Sullum Voe Terminal has its own 100 MW gas-turbine power station.
  • Load is balanced on Shetland by 3MWh of advanced lead-acid batteries.
  • Lerwick has a district heating scheme.

If we assume that Shetland’s energy needs are of the order of a few hundred MW, it looks like at times the wind farms will be generating more electricity, than Shetland and the Shetland HVDC Connection can handle.

Various plans have suggested building electrolysers on Shetland to create hydrogen.

Conversion of excess electricity to hydrogen, would have the following advantages.

  • The hydrogen could be used for local heavy transport and to replace diesel.
  • Hydrogen could be used to fuel a gas turbine back-up power station, when needed.
  • Hydrogen could be used for rocket fuel, if use of Shetland as a Spaceport for launching satellites takes off.

Any excess hydrogen could be exported to the rest of the UK or Europe.

 

August 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Concept Of Remote Island Wind

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 contracts have also introduced a concept that is new to me, called Remote Island Wind. All have got the same strike price of £46.39 per MWh.

Two of the projects on Orkney are community projects of around 30 MW, run by local trusts. This is surely, a model that will work in many places.

There is more on Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project on this page of the Orkney Islands Council web site.

It could even have an electrolyser to provide hydrogen for zero-carbon fuel, when there is more electricity than is needed. Companies like ITM Power and others already build filling stations with an electrolyser, that can be powered by wind-generated electricity.

The other Remote Island Wind projects are larger with two wind farms of over 200 MW.

It does look to me, that the Department of BEIS is nudging wind farm developers in remote places to a model, that all stakeholders w will embrace.

The Viking Wind Farm

I wrote about this wind farm in Shetland’s Viking Wind Farm.

There are more details in this press release from SSE enewables, which is entitled CfD Contract Secured For Viking Energy Wind Farm.

These introductory paragraphs, give a good explanation of the finances of this farm.

SSE Renewables has been successful in the UK’s fourth Contract for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round, announced today, and has secured a low-carbon power contract for 220MW for its wholly-owned Viking Energy Wind Farm (Viking) project, currently being constructed in Shetland.

Viking’s success in securing a contract follows a competitive auction process in Allocation Round 4 (AR4) where it competed within Pot 2 of the allocation round set aside for ‘less established’ technologies including Remote Island Wind.

The 443MW Viking project, which SSE Renewables is currently building in the Shetland Islands, has secured a CfD for 220MW (50% of its total capacity) at a strike price of £46.39/MWh for the 2026/27 delivery year.

The successful project will receive its guaranteed strike price, set on 2012 prices but annually indexed for CPI inflation, for the contracted low carbon electricity it will generate for a 15-year period. Securing a CfD for Viking stabilises the revenue from the project whilst also delivering price security for bill payers.

It’s very professional and open to explain the capacity, the contract and the finances in detail.

The press release also has this paragraph, which details progress.

Viking is progressing through construction with over 50 per cent of turbine foundation bases poured. When complete in 2024, Viking Energy Wind Farm will be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output, with the project also contributing to Shetland’s security of supply by underpinning the HVDC transmission link that will connect the islands to the mainland for the first time.

SSE also released this press release, which is entitled Major Milestone Reached As First Subsea Cable Installation Begins On Shetland HVDC Link, where this is the first paragraph.

The first phase of cable laying as part of the SSEN Transmission Shetland High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Link began this week off the coast of Caithness, marking a major milestone in the £660M project.

SSE seem to be advancing on all fronts on the two projects!

The Stornoway Wind Farm

This press release from EDF Renewables is entitled EDF Renewables UK Welcomes Contract for Difference Success, where these are the first two paragraphs.

Two EDF Renewables UK projects bid into the Contract for Difference (CfD) auction round held by the UK Government’s BEIS department have been successful.

The projects are the Stornoway wind farm on the Isle of Lewis and Stranoch wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway. Together these onshore wind farms will provide 300 MW of low carbon electricity which is an important contribution to reaching net zero.

The press release also gives this information about the contract and completion of the Stornoway wind farm.

Stornoway Wind Farm on the Isle of Lewis is a joint venture with Wood. The project has won a CfD for 200 MW capacity, the strike price was £46.39, the target commissioning date is 31 March 2027.

This page on the Lewis Wind Power web site, gives these details of the Stornoway Wind Farm.

The Stornoway Wind Farm would be located to the west of the town of Stornoway in an area close to the three existing wind farm sites.

The project has planning consent for up to 36 turbines and is sited on land owned by the Stornoway Trust, a publicly elected body which manages the Stornoway Trust Estate on behalf of the local community.

The local community stands to benefit as follows:

  • Community benefit payments currently estimated at £900,000 per annum, which would go to an independent trust to distribute to local projects and organisations
  • Annual rental payments to local crofters and the Stornoway Trust – which we estimate could total more than £1.3m, depending on the CfD Strike Price secured and the wind farm’s energy output
  • Stornoway Wind Farm is the largest of the three consented wind farm projects with a grid connection in place and is therefore key to the needs case for a new grid connection with the mainland.  Indeed, the UK energy regulator Ofgem has stated that it will support the delivery of a new 450MW cable if the Stornoway and Uisenis projects are successful in this year’s Contract for Difference allocation round.

Note the last point, where only the Stornoway wind farm was successful.

The Uisenis Wind Farm

This press release from EDF Energy is entitled Lewis Wind Power Buys Uisenis Wind Farm, gives these details of the sale.

Lewis Wind Power (LWP), a joint venture between Amec Foster Wheeler and EDF Energy Renewables has bought the Uisenis Wind Farm project on the Isle of Lewis. The wind farm has planning consent for the development of 45 turbines with a maximum capacity of 162 MW. This would be enough to power 124,000 homes and would be the biggest renewable energy development on the Western Isles.

LWP owns the Stornoway Wind Farm project located around 20km to the north of Uisenis which has planning consent to develop 36 turbines to a maximum capacity of 180 MW – enough to power 135,000 homes.

This would bring Stornoway and Uisenis wind farms under the similar ownership structures.

This is a significant paragraph in the press release.

On behalf of Eishken Limited, the owner of the site where the Uisenis Wind Farm will be located, Nick Oppenheim said: “I am delighted that LWP are taking forward the wind farm. The resources available on the Eishken estate, and the Western Isles in general, means that it is an excellent location for renewable energy projects and, as such, the company is also developing a 300MW pumped storage hydro project immediately adjacent to the Uisenis wind farm. With such potential for renewables and the positive effect they will have on the local community, economy, and the UK as a whole I am are looking forward to positive news on both support for remote island projects and the interconnector.”

Note the mention of pumped storage.

This article on the BBC is entitled Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme Planned For Lewis, where this paragraph introduces the scheme.

A pumped storage hydro scheme using sea water rather than the usual method of drawing on freshwater from inland lochs has been proposed for Lewis.

The only other information is that it will provide 300 MW of power, but nothing is said about the storage capacity.

It looks like Lewis will have a world-class power system.

Mossy Hill And Beaw Field Wind Farms

Mossy Hill near Lerwick and Beaw Field in Yell are two Shetland wind farms being developed by Peel L & P.

This press release from Peel L & P is entitled Government Support For Two Shetland Wind Farms, where these are the first two paragraphs.

Plans for two onshore wind farms on the Shetland Islands which would help meet Scotland’s targets for renewable energy production are a step closer to being delivered after receiving long-term Government support.

Clean energy specialists Peel NRE has been successful in two bids in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme; one for its Mossy Hill wind farm near Lerwick and the other for Beaw Field wind farm in Yell.

It looks like the two wind farms will power 130,000 houses and are planned to be operational in 2027.

Conclusion

Only time will tell, if the concept of Remote Island Wind works well.

July 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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

Shetland’s Viking Wind Farm

I was listening to SSE’s Chief Executive; Alistair Phillips-Davies, on the radio this morning, when he mentioned the Viking wind farm on Shetland.

  • The wind farm is being developed by Viking Energy, a partnership between Shetland Islands Council and SSE plc.
  • It will have 103 turbines and a nameplate capacity of 370 MW.
  • Construction started in September 2020 and should be complete by 2024.
  • The wind farm will be connected to the National grid via the Shetland HVDC Connection.
  • There’s more on the Viking Energy web site.

Note.

  1. According to Wikipedia, wind farms in the Shetlands can have capacity factors of over 50 %.
  2. Viking Energy hope that the Viking wind farm will become one of the most productive onshore wind farms in the world.
  3. Is it unusual, that the wind farm is developed by a partnership between a local authority and a large utility company?

It also appears that together the Viking wind farm and the Shetland HVDC Connection will allow the 66 MW diesel-powered Lerwick power station to be closed.

Does The Electricity System On Shetland Need Energy Storage?

As an Electrical Engineer, who specialised in Control Engineering, I am surprised that to ensure energy security, that there is no energy storage on Shetland.

In the Wikipedia entry for Lerwick power station, there is a section entitled Load Balancing, where this is said.

The growth of output from wind turbines in Shetland has increased instability in the local grid (which is not connected to the national grid on mainland Scotland). SSE installed a 1 MW sodium–sulfur battery in a nearby building to ameliorate the peak loads. However due to safety concerns, the sodium-sulfur battery was removed prior to commissioning and the energy storage building was reconfigured to accommodate 3MWh of advanced lead-acid batteries.

A combination of the new Shetland HVDC Connection and the lead-acid batteries must be enough to ensure energy security for the Shetlands.

 

 

 

 

March 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Finance | , , , | 5 Comments

Skyrora Creates Europe’s Largest 3D Printer In ‘Game-Changer’ For Cutting Rocket Building Time

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

The title is a good summary of a must-read article.

December 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Shetland Blasts Off Into Space Race As Britain’s First Rocket Launch Pad Skyrora

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

This second paragraph, explains what Skyrora are doing.

Skyrora, a technology company with its headquarters in Edinburgh, has agreed a deal for scores of rocket launches over the next decade from a site on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland islands.

This Google Map shows the most Northerly part of Unst.

There’s not really much there, except birds, trees and the most northerly house in Britain.

Enlarging to the West of the house, gives this second Google Map.

Note the Remote Radar Head Saxa Vord, which has a Wikipedia entry as RAF Saxa Voe.

  • It is now a fully-operational radar station again, after closure in 2006.
  • It is at the same latitude as St. Petersburg and Anchorage.
  • In 1992, it measured a wind speed of 197 mph, before the equipment blew away.

The Wikipedia entry is worth a read, as it gives a deep insight into radar and its tracking of Russian intruders in the Cold War.

This third Google Map shows a 3D closeup of the radar.

No staff are based at Saxa Vord, although maintenance staff do visit.

According to The Times, the space port will be at Lamba Ness, which is to the East of the most northerly house in Britain.

The peninsular in the South-East is marked Lamba Ness.

It may seem a very bleak place, but it could have one thing, that rocketry will need – rocket fuel!

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I introduced Project Orion, which is an electrification and hydrogen hub and clean energy project in the Shetland Islands.

The project’s scope is described in this graphic.

Note

  1. Project Orion now has its own web site.
  2. A Space Centre is shown on the Island of Unst.
  3. There is an oxygen pipeline shown dotted in blue from the proposed Sullom Voe H2 Plant to the Fish Farm and on to the Space Centre.
  4. I suspect if required, there could be a hydrogen pipeline.

The Space Centre on Unst could be fuelled by renewable energy.

Who Are Skyrora?

They have a web site, which displays this mission statement.

Represents a new breed of private rocket companies developing the next generation of launch vehicles for the burgeoning small satellite market.

The Times also has this paragraph.

At the end of last year, the company also completed trials of the third stage of its Skyrora XL rocket, including its orbital transfer vehicle which, once in orbit, can refire its engines 15 times to carry out tasks such as acting as a space tug, completing maintenance or removing defunct satellites.

The company seems to have big ambitions driven by innovation and a large range of ideas.

Conclusion

I shall be following this company.

 

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK National Grid In Talks To Build An Energy Island In The North Sea

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

This is the first paragraph.

UK company National Grid has revealed it is in talks with two other parties about building an “energy island” in the North Sea that would use wind farms to supply clean electricity to millions of homes in north-west Europe.

These are my thoughts.

An Artificial Island on the Dogger Bank

The idea of the North Sea Wind Power Hub in the area of the Dogger Bank has been around for a few years and has a comprehensive Wikipedia entry.

Wikipedia says that it would be an artificial island on the Dutch section of the Dogger Bank and the surrounding sea could eventually host up to 110 GW of wind turbines.

North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme

The Dutch and the Danes seems to have moved on and there is now a web site for the North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme.

The home page is split into two, with the upper half entitled Beyond The Waves and saying.

The incredible story of how the Netherlands went beyond technical engineering as it had ever been seen before. Beyond water management. To secure the lives of millions of inhabitants.

I have met Dutch engineers, who designed and built the Delta Works after the North Sea Floods of 1953 and I have seen the works all over the country and it is an impressive legacy.

And the lower half of the home page is entitled North Sea Wind Power Hub and saying.

Today, climate policy is largely national, decoupled and incremental. We need a new approach to effectively realise the potential of the North Sea and reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. We take a different perspective: harnessing the power of the North Sea requires a transnational and cross-sector approach to take the step-change we need.

Behind each half are two videos, which explain the concept of the programme.

It is a strange web site in a way.

  • It is written totally in English with English not American spelling.
  • The project is backed by Energinet, Gasunie and TenneT, who are Danish and Dutch companies, that are responsible for gas and electricity distribution networks in Denmark, Ger,many and The Netherlands.
  • There are four sections to the web site; Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and North Sea.

It is almost as if the web site has been designed for a British company to join the party.

Hubs And Spokes In North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme

If you watch the videos on the site, they will explain their concept of hubs and spokes, where not one but several energy islands or hubs will be connected by spokes or electricity cables and/or hydrogen pipelines to each other and the shore.

Many electrical networks on land are designed in a similar way, including in the UK, where we have clusters of power stations connected by the electricity grid.

The Dogger Bank

The Dogger Bank is a large sandbank in a shallow area of the North Sea about 100 kilometres off the east coast of England.

Wikipedia says this about the geography of the Dogger Bank.

The bank extends over about 17,600 square kilometres (6,800 sq mi), and is about 260 by 100 kilometres (160 by 60 mi) in extent. The water depth ranges from 15 to 36 metres (50 to 120 ft), about 20 metres (65 ft) shallower than the surrounding sea.

As there are Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm and Scroby Sands Wind Farm and others, on sandbanks in the North Sea, it would appear that the engineering of building wind farms on sandbanks in the North Sea is well understood.

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm

We are already developing the four section Dogger Bank Wind Farm in our portion of the Dogger Bank and these could generate up to 4.8 GW by 2025.

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm has its own web site, which greets you with this statement.

Building the World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

At 4.8 GW, it will be 45 % larger than Hinckley Point C nuclear power station, which is only 3.3 GW. So it is not small.

The three wind farms; Dogger Bank A, B and C will occupy 1670 square kilometres and generate a total of 3.6 GW or 0.0021 GW per square kilometre.

If this density of wind turbines could be erected all over the Dogger Bank, we could be looking at nearly 40 GW of capacity in the middle of the North Sea.

Interconnectors Across The North Sea

This Google Map shows the onshore route of the cable from the Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

Note.

  1. Hull and the River Humber at the bottom of the map.
  2. The red arrow which marks Creyke Beck sub station, where the cable from the Dogger Bank Wind Farm connects to the UK electricity grid.
  3. At the top of the map on the coast is the village of Ulrome, where the cable comes ashore.

The sub station is also close to the Hull and Scarborough Line, so would be ideal to feed any electrification erected.

I would assume that cables from the Dogger Bank Wind Farm could also link the Wind Farm to the proposed Dutch/Danish North Sea Wind Power Hub.

Given that the cables between the wind farms and Creyke Beck could in future handle at least 4.8 GW and the cables from the North Sea Wind Power Hub to mainland Europe would probably be larger, it looks like there could be a very high capacity interconnector between Yorkshire and Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands.

It almost makes the recently-opened North Sea Link to Norway, which is rated at 1.4 GW seem a bit small.

The North Sea Link

The North Sea Link is a joint project between Statnett and National Grid, which cost €2 billion and appears to have been delivered as planned, when it started operating in October 2021.

So it would appear that National Grid have shown themselves capable of delivering their end of a complex interconnector project.

Project Orion And The Shetlands

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I introduced Project Orion, which is an electrification and hydrogen hub and clean energy project in the Shetland Islands.

The project’s scope is described in this graphic.

Note that Project Orion now has its own web site.

  • Could the Shetlands become an onshore hub for the North Sea Power Hub Programme?
  • Could Icelink, which is an interconnector to Iceland be incorporated?

With all this renewable energy and hydrogen, I believe that the Shetlands could become one of the most prosperous areas in Europe.

Funding The Wind Farms And Other Infrastructure In The North Sea

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I described how Aviva were funding the Hornsea wind farm.

I very much believe that City of London financial institutions will be able to finance a lot of the developments in the North Sea.

After all National Grid managed to find a billion euros in a sock drawer to fund their half of the North Sea Link.

Electrifying The North Sea: A Gamechanger For Wind Power Production?

The title of this section, is the same as that of this article on Engineering and Technology Magazine.

This article in the magazine of the IET is a serious read and puts forward some useful facts and interesting ideas.

  • The EU is targeting offshore wind at 60 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050.
  • The UK is targeting offshore wind at 40 GW by 2030.
  • The article explains why HVDC electricity links should be used.
  • The major players in European offshore wind are the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark.
  • The foundations for a North Sea grid, which could also support the wider ambitions for a European super-grid, are already forming.
  • A North Sea grid needs co-operation between governments and technology vendors. as well as technological innovation.
  • National Grid are thinking hard about HVDC electrical networks.
  • By combining HVDC links it can be possible to save a lot of development capital.
  • The Danes are already building artificial islands eighty kilometres offshore.
  • Electrical sub-stations could be built on the sea-bed.

I can see that by 2050, the North Sea, South of a line between Hull and Esbjerg in Denmark will be full of wind turbines, which could generate around 300 GW.

Further Reading

There are various articles and web pages that cover the possibility of a grid in the North Sea.

I shall add to these as required.

Conclusion

I am coming to the conclusion that National Grid will be joining the North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme.

  • They certainly have the expertise and access to funding to build long cable links.
  • The Dogger Bank wind farm would even be one of the hubs in the planned hub and spoke network covering the North Sea.
  • Only a short connection would be needed to connect the Dogger Bank wind farm, to where the Dutch and Danes originally planned to build the first energy island.
  • There may be other possibilities for wind farm hubs in the UK section of the North Sea. Hornsea Wind Farm, which could be well upwards of 5 GW is surely a possibility.
  • Would it also give access to the massive amounts of energy storage in the Norwegian mountains, through the North Sea Link or Nord.Link between Norway and Germany.

Without doubt, I know as a Control Engineer, that the more hubs and spokes in a network, the more stable it will be.

So is National Grid’s main reason to join is to stabilise the UK electricity grid? And in turn, this will stabilise the Danish and Dutch grids.

 

October 9, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?

The headline of this post may be slightly tongue in cheek, but I believe that a plan is being hatched.

Preamble

I’ll start with a preamble, where I’ll outline some of the factors behind what may be happening.

Decarbonisation

It is generally accepted by most people that there is a need to decarbonise everything we do.

And large oil companies like Shell, BP and others are starting to move in the same direction.

Hydrogen

Using hydrogen instead of fossil fuels is becoming one of the major routes to decarbonisation.

Hydrogen can be used for the following.

  • Provide power for cars, buses, trucks, trains, locomotives and ships.
  • Hydrogen can be used in steelmaking instead of coking coal.
  • As a chemical feedstock to make ammonia, fertiliser and a large range of petrochemicals.
  • I believe that hydrogen could be a viable fuel to power aircraft over thousands of miles.

Hydrogen will become the most common zero-carbon fuel.

Hydrogen  And Natural Gas

In many applications hydrogen can replace natural gas, so for large users of natural gas, hydrogen offers a route to decarbonisation.

But hydrogen can also be mixed up to a level of around twenty percent in natural gas for partial decarbonisation of applications like space heating. Most industrial uses, boilers and appliances can be made to work very successfully with this mixture.

I grew up in the 1950s with coal gas, which according to Wikipedia had this composition.

  • hydrogen 50%
  • methane 35%
  • carbon monoxide 10%
  • ethylene 5%
  • When we changed over in the 1970s, all my appliances were converted.

This is the UK government description of natural gas.

It contains primarily methane, along with small amounts of ethane, butane, pentane, and propane. Natural gas does not contain carbon monoxide. The by-products of burning natural gas are primarily carbon dioxide and water vapour. Natural gas is colourless, tasteless and odourless.

As with the conversion from coal-gas to natural gas, conversion from Natural gas to a hydrogen/natural  gas mixture and eventually to hydrogen, will be a relatively painless process.

Note that carbon monoxide is a nasty poison and is not contained in either natural gas or hydrogen.

Green Hydrogen And Electrolysis Of Water

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced exclusively from renewable energy sources.

Typically green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water using electricity produced by hydro, solar, tidal or wind.

The largest factory building electrolysers is owned by ITM Power.

  • It is located in Rotherham.
  • The factory has the capacity to build 1 GW of electrolysers in a year.
  • Typical electrolysers have a capacity of several MW.

Ryze Hydrogen are building an electrolyser at Herne Bay, that  will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power and produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.

Blue Hydrogen

‘Blue hydrogen is produced through a production process where carbon dioxide is also produced then subsequently captured via carbon capture and storage. In many cases the carbon dioxide is stored in depleted gas fields, of which we have plenty in the North Sea. Over the last few years, research has been ongoing into using the carbon dioxide. Applications in horticulture and agriculture, carbon structures and sustainable aviation fuel are being developed.

Shell have also developed the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, where the carbon is extracted from methane as carbon dioxide and then stored or used.

CO2 In Greenhouse Horticulture

This paper from The Netherlands is called CO2 In Greenhouse Horticulture.

Read it and you might believe me, when I say, we’ll eat a lot of carbon in the form of tomatoes, salads and soft fruit. We’ll also buy flowers grown in a carbon-dioxide rich atmosphere.

Hydrogen As An Energy Transfer Medium

Every kilogram of natural gas when it burns releases energy, as it does in your boiler or gas hob. So it transfers energy in the form of gas from the gas well or storage tank to your house.

Electricity can also be transferred from the power station to your house using wires instead of pipes.

Hydrogen is being put forward as a means of transferring energy over hundreds of miles.

  • Electricity is converted to hydrogen, probably using an electrolyser, which would be powered by zero-carbon electricity.
  • The hydrogen is transferred using a steel pipe.
  • At the destination, the hydrogen is either distributed to end-users, stored or used in a gas-fired power station, that has been modified to run on hydrogen, to generate electricity.

It sounds inefficient, but it has advantages.

  • Long underwater cables have energy losses.
  • Electrical connections use a lot of expensive copper.
  • Re-use of existing gas pipes is possible.
  • Oil and gas companies like BP and their contractors have been laying gas pipes on land and under water for decades.

If hydrogen has a problem as an energy transfer medium, it is that it us difficult to liquify, as this statement from Air Liquide illustrates.

Hydrogen turns into a liquid when it is cooled to a temperature below -252,87 °C. At -252.87°C and 1.013 bar, liquid hydrogen has a density of close to 71 kg/m3. At this pressure, 5 kg of hydrogen can be stored in a 75-liter tank.

To transport, larger quantities of hydrogen by ship, it is probably better to convert the hydrogen into ammonia, which is much easier to handle.

The Germans and others are experimenting with using liquid ammonia to power large ships.

Hydrogen As An Energy Storage Medium

The UK has a comprehensive National Transmission System for natural gas with large amounts of different types of storage.

This section of the Wikipedia entry is entitled Natural Gas Storage and lists ten large storage facilities in salt caverns and depleted onshore gas fields. In addition, several depleted offshore gas fields have been proposed for the storage of natural gas. Rough was used successfully for some years.

I can certainly see a network of hydrogen storage sites being developed both onshore and offshore around the UK.

Iceland

With its large amount of hydro-electric and geothermal energy, Iceland can generate much more electricity, than it needs and has been looking to export it.

The UK is probably the only country close enough to be connected to Iceland to buy some of the country’s surplus electricity.

There has been a proposal called Icelink, that would build an electrical interconnector with a capacity of around a GW between Iceland at the UK.

But the project seems to have stalled since I first heard about it on my trip to Iceland in 2014.

Could the engineering problems just be too difficult?

The Waters Around The Northern Parts Of Great Britain

Look at a map of the UK and particularly Great Britain and there is a massive area of water, which is not short of wind.

Between Norway, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, the East Coast of England, the Northern Coasts of Scotland and Iceland, there are only a few islands.

  • Faroes
  • Orkney
  • Shetlands

To be complete we probably must include hundreds of oil and gas rigs and platforms and the Dogger Bank.

  • Oil and gas companies probably know most there is to know about these waters.
  • Gas pipelines connect the production platforms to terminals at Sullom Voe and along the East Coast from St. Fergus near Aberdeen to Bacton in Norfolk.
  • Many of the oil and gas fields are coming to the end of their working lives.

I believe that all this infrastructure could be repurposed to support the offshore wind industry.

The Dutch Are Invading The Dogger Bank

The Dogger Bank sits in the middle of the North Sea.

  • It is roughly equidistant from Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK.
  • The Western part is in UK territorial waters.
  • The Eastern part is mainly in Dutch territorial waters.

On the UK part, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being developed.

  • The turbines will be between 78 and 180 miles from the shore.
  • It could have a capacity of up to 5 GW.
  • It would be connected to East Yorkshire or Teesside.

On their side of the Dogger Bank, the Dutch are proposing the North Sea Wind Power Hub.

  • It is a collaboration between the Dutch, Germans, and Danes.
  • There have been reports, that up to 110 GW of turbines could be installed.
  • It will be connected to the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, as well as The Netherlands.

It is also planned that the connections to the Dogger Bank will create another interconnector between the UK and the Continent.

The Shetland Islands

The Shetland Islands are the only natural islands with a large oil and gas infrastructure in the waters to the North of Great Britain.

They have a large gas and oil terminal at Sullom Voe.

  • Oil is transported to the terminal by pipelines and tanker.
  • Oil is exported by tanker.
  • Gas is imported from oil and gas fields to the West of the islands through the West of Shetland Pipeline.
  • The gas-fired Sullom Voe power station provide about 80 MW of power to the islands.

This document on the APSE web site is entitled Future Hydrogen Production In Shetland.

It describes how the Shetland Islands can decarbonise and reposition themselves in the energy industry to be a major producer of hydrogen.

It gives these two facts about carbon emissions in the Shetlands Islands and Scotland.

  • Annual per capita CO2 emissions in the Shetland Islands are 17 tonnes.
  • In Scotland they are just 5.3 tonnes.

By comparison, the UK average is 5.55 and Qatar is 37.29.

Currently, the annual local market for road, marine and domestic fuel calculated
at around £50 million.

These are the objectives of the Shetland’s plan for future hydrogen production.

  • Supply 32TWh of low carbon hydrogen annually, 12% of the expected UK total requirement, by 2050
  • Provide more than 3GW of wind generated electrical power to Shetland, the UK grid, generating green hydrogen and electrification of the offshore oil and gas sector
  • Enable all West of Shetland hydrocarbon assets to be net zero by 2030 and abate 8Mt/year CO2 by 2050
  • Generate £5bn in annual revenue by 2050 and contribute significantly to the UK Exchequer.

They also envisage removing the topsides of platforms, during decommissioning of mature East of Shetland
oil fields and repurposing them for hydrogen production using offshore wind.

That is certainly a powerful set of ambitions.

This diagram from the report shows the flow of electricity and hydrogen around the islands, terminals and platforms.

Note these points about what the Shetlanders call the Orion Project.

  1. Offshore installations are electrified.
  2. There are wind turbines on the islands
  3. Hydrogen is provided for local energy uses like transport and shipping.
  4. Oxygen is provided for the fish farms and a future space centre.
  5. There is tidal power between the islands.
  6. There are armadas of floating wind turbines to the East of the islands.
  7. Repurposed oil platforms are used to generate hydrogen.
  8. Hydrogen can be exported by pipeline to St. Fergus near Aberdeen, which is a distance of about 200 miles.
  9. Hydrogen can be exported by pipeline to Rotterdam, which is a distance of about 600 miles.
  10. Hydrogen can be exported by tanker to Rotterdam and other parts of Europe.

It looks a very comprehensive plan!

The German Problem

Germany has an energy problem.

  • It is a large energy user.
  • It has the largest production of steel in Europe.
  • It prematurely shut some nuclear power stations.
  • About a quarter of electricity in Germany comes from coal. In the UK it’s just 1.2 %.
  • It is very reliant on Russian natural gas.
  • The country also has a strong Green Party.
  • Germany needs a lot more energy to replace coal and the remaining nuclear.
  • It also needs a lot of hydrogen to decarbonise the steel and other industries.

Over the last few months, I’ve written these articles.

Germany seems to have these main objectives.

  • Increase their supply of energy.
  • Ensure a plentiful supply of hydrogen.

They appear to be going about them with a degree of enthusiasm.

BP’s Ambition To Be Net Zero By 2050

This press release from BP is entitled BP Sets Ambition For Net Zero By 2050, Fundamentally Changing Organisation To Deliver.

This is the introductory paragraph.

BP today set a new ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero. The ambition is supported by ten aims

The ten aims are divided into two groups.

Five Aims To Get BP To Net Zero

These are.

  1. Net zero across BP’s operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.
  2. Net zero on carbon in BP’s oil and gas production on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.
  3. 50% cut in the carbon intensity of products BP sells by 2050 or sooner.
  4. Install methane measurement at all BP’s major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and reduce methane intensity of operations by 50%.
  5. Increase the proportion of investment into non-oil and gas businesses over time.

I would assume that by gas, they mean natural gas.

Five Aims To Help The World Get To Net Zero

These are.

  1. More active advocacy for policies that support net zero, including carbon pricing.
  2. Further incentivise BP’s workforce to deliver aims and mobilise them to advocate for net zero.
  3. Set new expectations for relationships with trade associations.
  4. Aim to be recognised as a leader for transparency of reporting, including supporting the recommendations of the TCFD.
  5. Launch a new team to help countries, cities and large companies decarbonise.

This all does sound like a very sensible policy.

BP’s Partnership With EnBW

BP seemed to have formed a partnership with EnBW to develop offshore wind farms in the UK

Their first investment is described in this press release from BP, which is entitled BP Advances Offshore Wind Growth Strategy; Enters World-Class UK Sector With 3GW Of Advantaged Leases In Irish Sea.

This is the first five paragraphs.

bp and partner EnBW selected as preferred bidder for two highly-advantaged 60-year leases in UK’s first offshore wind leasing round in a decade.

Advantaged leases due to distance from shore, lower grid cost, synergies from scale, and faster cycle time.

Projects expected to meet bp’s 8-10% returns aim, delivering attractive and stable returns and integrating with trading, mobility, and other opportunities.

Annual payments expected for four years before final investment decisions and assets planned to be operational in seven years.

In the past six months bp has entered offshore wind in the UK – the world’s largest market – and the US – the world’s fastest-growing market.

Note.

  1. EnBW are Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, who, according to Wikipedia, are the third largest utilities company in Germany.
  2. It also appears, that EnBW have developed wind farms.

BP have issued this infographic with the press release.

Note.

  1. The lease areas don’t appear to be far from the Morecambe Bay gas field.
  2. The Morecambe Bay gas field is coming to the end of its life.
  3. The Morecambe Bay gas field is connected to the Rampside gas terminal at Barrow-in-Furness.
  4. At peak production 15 % of the UK’s natural gas came from Morecambe Bay.

I just wonder, if there is a cunning plan.

Could the platforms be repurposed to act as electrical hubs for the wind turbines?

  • 3GW of electricity would produce 55 tonnes of hydrogen per day.
  • The hydrogen would be exported to the Rampside gas terminal using the existing pipelines.
  • There may be savings to be made, as HVDC links are expensive.
  • BP either has the engineering to convert the platforms or they know someone who does.
  • Would the industrial complex at Barrow-in-Furnace and the nearby Sellafield complex have a use for all that hydrogen?
  • Or would the hydrogen be used to fuel Lancashire’s buses and trucks on the M6.

It certainly looks to me, that it could be a possibility, to bring the energy ashore as hydrogen.

BP Seeking Second Wind Off Scotland

The title of this section, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

These are the first two paragraphs.

BP is preparing to bid for the rights to build wind farms off Scotland as it signals no let-up in expansion after a £900 million splurge on leases in the Irish Sea.

The London-based oil giant caused waves in February by offering record prices to enter the UK offshore wind market through a Crown Estate auction of seabed leases off England and Wales.

As I said earlier.

  • The Shetland Islands are developing themselves as a giant hydrogen factory.
  • There are pipelines connecting platforms to the Sullom Voe Terminal.
  • There are plans to convert some of the redundant platforms into hydrogen production platforms.
  • The islands will be developing ways to export the hydrogen to the South and Europe.

BP also operates the Schiehallion oil and gas field to the West of the Shetlands, which is connected to the Sullom Voe Terminal by the West of Shetland pipeline.

Could BP and EnBW be coming to the party?

They certainly won’t be arriving empty-handed.

Does BP Have Access To Storage Technology?

I ask this question because both the Morecambe Bay and Shetland leases could be built with co-located depleted gas fields and offshore electrolysers.

So could hydrogen gas be stored in the gas fields?

I think it could be a possibility and would mean that hydrogen would always be available.

Could Iceland Be Connected To Schiehallion Via A Gas Pipeline?

I estimate that Iceland and Schiehallion would be about six hundred miles.

This wouldn’t be the longest undersea gas pipeline in the world as these two are longer.

The Langeled pipeline cost £1.7 billion.

Conclusion

I think there’s more to the link-up between BP and EnBW.

I am fairly certain, that BP are thinking about converting some redundant gas platforms into hubs for wind turbines, which use the electricity to create hydrogen, which is then exported to the shore using existing gas pipelines and onshore terminals.

Could it be said, that BP will be recycling oil and gas platforms?

I feel that the answer is yes! Or at least maybe!

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind!

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Winning Over The Anti-Frackers

Edmund Marshall is a retired MP.  In a letter to the Times today, he talks of his part in the Zetland County Council Act 1973 and the effect of the Act, on the Shetland Islands. This is talked about here on the Scottish Government web site, with this paragraph being the most relevant.

Closer to home, we have an example of the way in which one local community – Shetland – was able to accrue a legacy for its future on the back of oil and gas exploration. Shetland Islands Council showed foresight in securing via, primarily, the Zetland County Council Act 1974 a lasting revenue stream for the benefit of the islands from the development of the Sullom Voe terminal. The result of this Act and subsequent contractual negotiations is that Shetland today has a lasting legacy of around £216m. 7 This figure is over and above the funds contained in the Shetland Reserve Fund, administered by Shetland Islands Council.

30. The Shetland Charitable Trust, established in 1974 to manage the income stream accrued to Shetland, today provides funding to a number of charitable organisations and projects where there is a clear benefit to the Shetland community. Over the years, the Trust has made a contribution to creating a modern, positive and healthy community in Shetland. Shetland Charitable Trust’s financial strength has also given it the power to establish joint venture projects to move into the renewable energy generation market.

Dr. Marshall finishes his letter, by saying that fracking could be dealt with by similar provisions.

It would lead to some rather heated arguments in some councils, as to whether to accept the fracker’s shilling. It is a choice about whether you want lower Council Tax and new community facilities, or fracking.

I very doubt that a similar Act will happen in the greater UK, as payments like this really get the Treasury’s ire.  I’m surprised that they allowed the Shetlands to get this independent finance! Perhaps none of the Treasury’s mandarins had been north of Watford and Shetlands meant Rockall to them.

January 11, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment