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Energy

337: Wind Power Hub

Problem:

Large land-based wind turbine farms take up space which could be better used for housing and agriculture.

Solution:

A very big floating offshore wind farm


Equinor ASA, a Norwegian multinational energy company headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, builds energy captors offshore. They built the 88MW Hywind floating offshore wind farm to provide electrical power to the Snorre and Gullfaks oil and gas platforms in the Tampen area on the Norwegian continental shelf.

This farm is reducing CO₂ emissions by more than 220,500 tons (200,000 tonnes) per year, equivalent to the emissions from 100,000 cars. After this, Equinor teamed up with Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and Korea East-West Power (EWP) to carry out a feasibility study for the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, the 200 MW Donghae 1 project to be located close to the KNOC-operated Donghae natural gas field off the coast of Ulsan. They aim to start building the farm in 2022, with possible electricity production from 2024.

Equinor is also linking up with SSE to build an offshore wind farm in the North Sea. It will use the largest, most powerful offshore wind turbine in the world: GE Renewable Energy, already with 50,000 turbines in the field, is preparing the Haliade-X. While each blade is 107m long, longer than the size of a soccer field, its 260m mast is more than five times the size of the iconic Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Designed by LM Wind Power of Kolding, Denmark and built at their factory in Tianjin, China, one Haliade-X is capable of generating between 12 and 14 MW – up to 67 GWh annually, enough clean power for up to 16,000 households per turbine, and up to 1 million European households in a 750 MW windfarm configuration. GE Renewable Energy aims to supply its first nacelle for demonstration in 2021

Each of the new 720 ft. (220 m.) diameter rotor mega-turbines planned for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank in the North Sea will generate enough electricity for 16,000 homes. Together, the new generation turbines, built by GE Renewable Energy, will make up a windfarm capable of generating enough renewable electricity to power 4.5m homes from 80 mi (130 km.) off the Yorkshire coast, or 5% of the UK’s total power supply. In November 2020 Equinor and SSE completed a deal worth £8 billion to finance the first phases of the farm (equinor.com)

In June 2016, nine countries – the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden – signed an agreement to cooperate in planning and building offshore wind parks. The goal is to reduce costs as quickly as possible and thus make the wind parks more economically viable.

A study commissioned by Dutch electrical grid operator TenneT reported in February 2017 that as much as 110 gigawatts of wind energy generating capacity could ultimately be developed at the Dogger Bank location. TenneT (Netherlands and Germany) teamed up with the Centre for Electric Power and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark (Energinet) and signed a tri-lateral agreement for the creation of a large connection point for thousands of future offshore wind turbines in the North Sea.

The ‘North Sea Wind Power Hub’ would have the potential to supply 70 to 100 million Europeans with renewable energy by 2050. Working closely with Energinet, Vestas, MHI Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, ABB, NKT, Siemens and Ørsted, The North Sea Wind Power Hub is a proposed energy island complex to be built in the middle of the North Sea as part of a European system for sustainable electricity.

One or more “Power Link” artificial islands or modules will be created at the northeast end of the Dogger Bank, a relatively shallow area in the North Sea, just outside the continental shelf of the United Kingdom and near the point where the borders between the territorial waters of Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark come together. Dutch, German, and Danish electrical grid operators are cooperating in this project to help develop a cluster of offshore wind parks with a capacity of several gigawatts, with interconnections to the North Sea countries. Undersea cables will make international trade in electricity possible.

According to this plan, the first artificial island will have an area of 2.3 mi² (6 km²). Thousands of wind turbines will be placed around the island, with short alternating-current links to the island. On the island itself, power converters will change the alternating current to direct current that will be carried to the mainland via undersea cables. The Hub – one island at first, and later one or two more – is intended to make a substantial contribution to the energy transition and to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

The idea is that the structure would be built in modules, so that, over time, it would be possible to expand the Hub with more islands or enlarge it so that up to 180GW of offshore wind capacity could ultimately be handled. To get to that point, a lot of new technology would be required, both to transmit energy and to store it, hence the project.(tenet.eu)

In October 2020 the Hub obtained a €4 million EU grant.

Meanwhile in March 2020, Shell, Gasunie, a Dutch gas grid operator, and the port of Groningen began to plan the NortH2 Project to provide 3-4GW of offshore wind capacity established in the North Sea by 2030 that would only be used for the manufacture of green hydrogen.

Electrolyzers would be installed along the northern coast of the Netherlands, in Eemshaven, and by 2040 the project may expand with added offshore electrolyzers that are set to produce 10GW of power. Shell currently has a 20% stake in a consortium that is building around 730MW of offshore wind off the coast of the Netherlands. (gasunie.nl)

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