Offshore Wind Energy Capacity set to more than Quadruple by 2030

Offshore wind capacity will increase from 25 GW today to 164 GW by the year 2030, according to a report by Rethink Energy.

The report, Offshore wind to drive eight million job, is key to decarbonisation, predicts that growth in the industry will create eight million jobs globally and attract $1.3bn in investment. This will support the construction of 30 GW in annual offshore wind installations building towards 400 GW by the year 2040, providing almost 5% of electricity globally.

Rethink Energy research analyst Harry Morgan told Power Technology: “Offshore wind can and will be a key contributor towards the energy transition. Ambitions are high in many countries, which places a large impetus on investing in infrastructure to incorporate renewables, from the maritime supply chain to transnational grids.”

Rethink Energy conducted a territory-by-territory assessment for the report and found that the Asia-Pacific region, including China, will overtake current market leader Europe. It says the US is “lagging way behind due to its conflicting politics, as well as its lack of maritime and transmission readiness.”

Morgan said that as the industry “has yet to develop in many of the nations that we see as being key players, the early push for offshore wind will see some resistance.”

He added that it is important for investors to see that the resistance will be due to “the immaturity of the infrastructure at this stage” and not the industry itself and that once all the parts fall into place, the offshore wind boom will keep accelerating up to 2040 and beyond.

“Agile players from both the onshore wind community as well as oil and gas companies will be able to capitalise on this boom by addressing the early disparities in supply chain sufficiency and LCOE reduction in floating technology,” Morgan said.

“In this sense, offshore wind will be a key indicator of how seriously oil and gas majors are taking the climate crisis and how aware they are of the vast economic opportunities within the renewables sector.” /


SNC-Lavalin and ABB form new JV company Linxon

Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin has partnered with Swiss technology company ABB to form a new joint venture (JV) company called Linxon.

Linxon will focus on the execution of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects for electrical AC substation projects related to renewable and conventional power generation, as well as power transmission and transportation solutions.

The new JV will be engaged in providing project design, engineering, procurement, construction, management, commissioning and after-sales support.

ABB Power Grids division president Claudio Facchin said: “Linxon will combine ABB’s technology leadership with SNC-Lavalin’s expertise in managing infrastructure projects to deliver enhanced customer value.

“This joint venture will help capture new business opportunities for both companies and reinforces our strategy of forging new alliances and business models, as part of the ABB Power Grids ‘Power Up’ transformation program.”

The intent to form a JV company was announced last December, with SNC-Lavalin holding a majority and controlling stake in the newly formed entity.

SNC-Lavalin Clean Power president Marie-Claude Dumas said: “We are delighted to join forces with ABB and bring together our respective strengths to deliver sustainable energy solutions for substations while providing value for customers through cost efficiencies and an enhanced delivery capability.” /


Silfab Solar to invest $40m in Itek’s solar facility in Washington

/ Canadian photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Silfab Solar is set to expand its manufacturing operations in the US with a direct investment in Itek’s Bellingham, Washington facility.

Reuters reported that the Canadian firm will invest $40m in the facility as part of the company’s strategy to meet growing demand for its solar panels in the US.

As part of this initiative, Silfab also plans to integrate its automation technology into Itek’s Bellingham, Washington facility and will add a second manufacturing line to more than double its PV module production.

Silfab COO and general manager Paolo Maccario said: “This is a marriage of highly similar and very compatible visions – to produce the highest-quality PV modules that consistently outperform competing products in efficiency, endurance and long-term power performance.

“Our products are already deployed in 33 states. A US operation will now enable us to meet additional demands and customer appetite for US-made solar modules.”

The investment will see the two entities in North America come together in the solar PV module manufacturing sphere.

Itek Energy has delivered more than 100MW built solar modules for home and business owners throughout the US.

Itek president and founding principal John Flanagan said: “Itek looks forward to an exciting future with expanded capabilities and greater automation.

“Silfab is a leader in North American solar PV manufacturing. We can’t think of a better partner to accelerate expansion within the US solar market to deliver leading-edge technological innovations.” /


Statkraft completes Kerry battery project in Ireland

Norwegian state-owned hydropower company Statkraft has announced the completion of the 11MW Kerry battery project in Ireland.

The hybrid battery-and-wind project is Statkraft’s first in Ireland and combines 11MW of battery with 23MW of onshore wind. It is expected to become fully operational early this year.

Statkraft Ireland managing director Kevin O’Donovan said: “This is a landmark day for the energy market in this country and represents a very exciting milestone for power storage here.

“Energy storage systems further diversify our own portfolio, and this project continues our growth trajectory while complementing our extensive renewable development plans.”

The battery project is built at Statkraft’s first stand-alone Irish onshore wind project site at Kilathmoy on the Limerick / Kerry border in the south-west of Ireland.

The wind facility that generates clean energy for the power storage device features seven wind turbines with a 23MW power generation capacity. It was built with an investment of €30m.

To deliver the project, Statkraft collaborated with utility-scale energy storage solutions developer Fluence. LG Chem produced the battery modules for the project.

In addition, Statkraft will sign a contract with EirGrid to supply reserves to the national electricity grid in case of a sudden supply shortage.

The company noted that Ireland offers new growth markets for onshore wind and solar power sectors.

Currently, it has a development pipeline of 1.25GW of onshore wind, 500MW of offshore wind and 350MW of solar energy in Ireland.

Last October, Statkraft Ireland acquired nine solar projects from JBM Solar in Ireland for an estimated fee of $17.3m (€15.5m). The projects have a combined capacity of 320MW. /


White Construction wins Blooming Grove Wind Energy Center contract

/ US-based Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives’ (IEA) division White Construction has secured a construction contract for the 250MW Blooming Grove Wind Energy Center in Illinois, US.

Located in McLean County, Blooming Grove will be equipped with 94 turbines. The clean energy generated by the facility will be supplied to Illinois electrical grid.

According to the contract, IEA will be responsible for the turbine foundation construction, turbine erection and laying new roads for the project.

The energy generated by the wind power project will be sufficient to power 69,000 homes in the region every year. The project works started last September, with complete operations expected to begin later this year.

The Blooming Grove project is being developed by Invenergy, which owns and operates large-scale renewable and clean energy generation and storage facilities across North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

IEA CEO JP Roehm said: “Momentum in wind energy is substantial across more than a dozen states and in several regions of the country, providing IEA with both strong demand and geographic diversity. We expect activity to remain robust in 2020 and beyond.”

Roehm further added that the Illinois project is an example of wind farm developments completed, underway or planned across much of the US.

IEA is an infrastructure construction company with specialised energy and heavy civil expertise. The company has already assembled more than 7,200 wind turbines across North America.

White Construction specialises in the heavy civil infrastructure project construction. /


Nordex secures 172MW turbine supply contract in Netherlands

/ German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex has secured a contract to supply 171.6MW turbines in the Netherlands.

According to the contract, the company will supply 44 N131/3900 turbines to its Dutch customers Duurzame Energieproductie Exloermond, Raedthuys DDM and Windpark Oostermoer Exploitatie.

Together, the three projects form the De Drentse Monden en Oostermoer (DMO) wind farm.

Located in the south-east of Groningen, in the province of Drenthe, DMO is in the close vicinity of the central antenna field of the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), which is operated by ASTRON, the Dutch Institute for Radio Astronomy.

The region is equipped with radio antennas that are very sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and used for research into the universe.

The highest permitted levels of the radiation are regulated by law. All wind turbines from Nordex meet the required standards.

Nordex has won the contract on a condition that the emission of electromagnetic radiation from its wind turbines would be reduced to a predefined absolute minimum.

The N131/3900 turbines are considered to have extremely low-radiation.

Nordex Group CSO Patxi Landa said: “We are pleased to have been awarded the contract for this challenging project.

“At the customer’s request, we have successfully implemented a new technological solution. Now we can offer our N131 turbines for other projects with similarly demanding requirements regarding minimal electromagnetic radiation.”

In addition, Nordex has agreed to provide the turbine maintenance services after installation for a period of 25 years on a premium service contract basis.

The company will start installing the turbines during the second half of the year.

Last November, Nordex secured new contracts to deliver wind turbines for three wind farms. /


Pattern Energy starts construction works at 271MW wind facility in US

/ US-based renewable energy company Pattern Energy Group has started construction works at its 271MW Gulf Wind facility in Kenedy County, Texas.

Pattern Energy will remove the existing wind turbines at the facility and replace them with 118 new Siemens Gamesa SWT-2.3-108 turbines.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Onshore Americas CEO José Antonio Miranda said: “Repowering provides an opportunity to increase the efficiency, reliability and longevity of existing wind farms.”

The clean energy generated by the wind turbines will be sufficient to meet the electricity demand of approximately 80,000 Texas homes.

As part of the wind facility repowering, nacelles, towers and blades of the 118 turbines will be replaced with new Siemens Gamesa 2.3MW turbines, each with 108m blades on towers that are 80m-high.

Spread over 9,600 acres land leased from the Kenedy Memorial Foundation, Gulf Wind started operations in 2009.

Majority of the energy generated by the wind facility is supplied to Austin Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement, while the remaining energy is sold at merchant power prices.

Over the next 25 years, Gulf Wind is expected to contribute approximately $90m to the local economy through tax and landowner payments.

Pattern Energy president and CEO Mike Garland said: “Repowering Gulf Wind with brand new turbines made strong economic sense due to its unique location on the Gulf Coast, where the winds blow strongest at the times of Texas’ peak energy demand and pricing.

“By installing the latest technology turbines, we expect the repowered facility to have more efficient production, lower operating costs, renewed production tax credits (PTCs) and longer life, which combine to increase the long-term value of our fleet.”

Last May, Pattern Energy awarded a four-year operation and maintenance contract to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) for its 218MW Panhandle Wind 1 facility. The wind farm is located in Carson County and is equipped with 118 units of 1.85MW-87MW GE wind turbines. /


SSE refused permission for Platin Peaker power plant due to greenhouse gas fears

/ Scottish energy company SSE faces a major setback to its plans to develop an oil-fired power generation plant at Platin, Co Meath, Ireland after the project was refused planning permission because of concerns over greenhouse gas emissions.

Irish quasi-judicial body An Bord Pleanála has upheld an appeal by residents against Meath county council’s decision to approve the construction of the 208MW open cycle gas turbine “peaker” power plant.

The board voted by a 5-3 majority to refuse planning permission for the SSE facility. While the board found the site suitable for electricity generation, it decided that a plant operating on natural gas or other fuel sources was more preferable to one running on distillate oil.

Distillate oils are derived from fossil fuel petroleum in conventional distillation operations and are used in diesel engines, railroad locomotives and agricultural machinery as well as space heating and electric power generation.

An inspector with An Bord Pleanála described SSE’s choice of fuel for the plant as “misplaced” and concluded that approving this project is contrary to national policy and would be “irresponsible”.

In a response, a spokesperson for the energy provider says: “SSE is disappointed with the decision to refuse planning permission for its proposed peaker plant at Platin, Co. Meath. The development proposed would provide strategic support to the electricity system during peak times, helping to maintain security of supply in the area and acting as back-up power to renewable generation.”

The plant installation was going to add new 110kV transmission substation and connect the peaker power plant to the national electricity 110kV transmission grid system.

SSE also pointed out that the plant would normally only have operated in case of peak electricity demand such as early evenings in the winter months. The company claimed it would be “largely carbon neutral”, although it acknowledged additional operational hours were a possibility.

The refusal of permission for the Platin Peaker plant is in line with a tough crackdown on polluting energy sources and comes after an announcement in September 2019 by Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar who announced at a UN assembly that the Irish Government will end offshore oil drilling. /