Orsted to proceed with mega Hornsea 3 North Sea wind farm project

Ørsted said this week that it had made a final investment decision on the Hornsea 3 project off Britain’s coast, indicating it will proceed with what will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The project, which will have capacity to power more than 3.3 million UK homes and is expected to cost 70-75 billion Danish crowns ($10.3-$11.0 billion), is targeted for completion by the end of 2027.

The 2.9-gigawatt project is seen as vital for Britain’s push to boost energy security and its renewable power output to meet climate targets. Orsted said Hornsea 3, which is part of a wider array at the Hornsea site off the Yorkshire coast, has a value creation “around the bottom end” of its targeted return on projects. Bernstein analysts projected the internal rate of return at 7-7.5%.

Development of the Hornsea 3 project had been in doubt due to rising upfront costs, as the industry grapples with supply chain delays and higher costs.

Most of the capital expenditure for the project was contracted ahead of recent inflationary pressures, securing competitive prices, Orsted said.

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Innovation needed to meet UK renewable targets

Energy market analytics company Aurora says that Britain is not on track to meet the government’s renewables targets without innovation.

Aurora’s report echoes recent analysis from the Climate Change Committee, whose chair Lord Deben said that “the government is failing in much of its implementation” of its targets. The Public Accounts Committee also recently said it is “sceptical” over whether expansion plans for nuclear, solar and wind are credible.

Aurora warned that installed offshore wind will only reach “a little over two thirds of the government’s target by 2030, while installed solar capacity will remain below half of the national target by 2035.”

The UK government has set itself highly challenging electricity generating capacity ambitions for nuclear (24GW by 2050), solar (70GW by 2035) and offshore wind power (50GW by 2030).

Figures published by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) show that the UK currently has just over 15GW of solar, 15GW of onshore wind, 14GW of offshore wind, and smaller amounts of hydro and landfill gas.

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UK Squanders Major Economic Benefit from Offshore Wind

China’s Dajin Heavy Industry Corporation has signed a binding contract for the construction and delivery of XXL monopiles for the 860MW Moray West offshore wind farm in the UK.

According to Dajin, the XXL Monopiles will be “one of the largest to be installed so far in the world and first in the wind industry history to be supplied from Chinese Tier 1 supplier – Dajin Heavy Industry.” The monopiles will weigh almost 2000 tonnes and have 10 meters diameter.

OW Ocean Winds, a 50-50 joint venture between EDP Renewables (EDPR) and ENGIE, with a presence in eight countries, is the major shareholder developing the Moray West project.

Dajin Heavy Industry describes itself as the largest offshore foundation fabricator in the world with one million tonnes per year production capacity in China and expanding with local content contribution investments into Europe.

Dajin’s base scope of work for the project is the supply of 48 monopiles based on the steel secured from Chinese Steel Mills. The steel cutting for the first monopile production has already started.

According to the company, Dajin Heavy Industry has acquired and is now developing a new 100h fabrication yard in the South of China and is planning a foundation facility in Europe. 

The award is the second major scope of manufacturing work for Moray West that has been sent outside of the UK in recent months.

In March, Ocean Winds signed a capacity agreement with UAE-based Lamprell worth in excess of £150m, covering the supply of 62 transition pieces, including 60 wind turbine jackets and kit for the scheme’s two offshore substations.

Commenting on the Dajin award, GMB Scotland senior organiser Gary Cook said: “New contracts, same old story. Scotland continues to fight for scraps from its own offshore wind market while the rest of the world carves up the spoils.

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Huge potential growth is seen for the emerging floating offshore wind sector

Clarksons Renewables Intelligence Network sees a global potential for 14.5GW of power generated by 1,300 floating offshore wind turbines by 2030.

This represents a huge expansion for floating wind where only 10 projects of 124 MW are active, with a further 8 projects of 165 MW under construction. The forecast would see 96 floating offshore wind farms by 2030.

Floating wind is seen as allowing the development of new regional markets where offshore wind has previously not been feasible. Clarksons noted over 150 potential offshore wind projects, producing over 100GW, had been mooted by developers in 21 countries or regions.

“Floating wind poses new installation challenges for developers and our analysis examines which contractors and yards have already been active in the sector, as well as profiling the demands on the installation and support fleet, port infrastructure and the unique maintenance requirements of floating wind farms,” commented Steve Gordon, Managing Director of Clarksons Research

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UK’s largest offshore wind tower factory to be built in the Highlands

Scottish energy company Global Energy Group and wind tower manufacturing company Haizea Wind Group have teamed up to create the UK’s largest offshore wind tower manufacturing plant at the PORT OF NIGG LIMITED in the Scottish Highlands.

The £110M-£120M facility will be called Nigg Offshore Wind (NOW) and will be a state of the art offshore wind tubular rolling facility.

The project will receive £15M in debt from SSE Renewables and £5M in debt from Mainstream Renewable Power, while financial backing is also expected from The Scottish Government via the Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK government through its offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme.

NOW will be 450m long and 38,000m2 in total area. This size gives it the capacity to roll steel plate to supply towers that each weigh over 1,000t. It will be capable of producing up to 135 towers a year.

The facility will also manufacture other products such as transition pieces, suction buckets and bespoke tubular structures to supply offshore fixed and floating wind facilities in the UK and abroad.

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Work starts on Ardersier Port transformation

Multi-million pound works to bring a mothballed Highland harbour back up to speed are due to kick off in the coming days.

For many years, Ardersier Port was one of the largest oil rig fabrication yards in the world, employing as many 4,500 workers.

Now new owners are revolutionising Ardersier – which, at 400 acres, is the largest brownfield port in the UK – with the hope of transforming it into Europe’s first fully circular energy transition site.

Under the ambitious plans, the facility, which shut up shop in 2001, will recycle retired oil rigs to make foundations for future fleets of floating offshore wind farms.

It is expected that thousands of jobs will be created at the site as a result off the revamp.

In order to open up the port’s half a mile long quayside, work is about to kick off on a £20 million, nine-month ‘capital dredge’ programme.

As much as 2.5 million cubic metres of sand, equivalent to 1000 Olympic swimming pools, will be removed as part of the operation.

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£500,000 earmarked to help 16-24 year olds enter the industry offshore wind sector

SSE Renewables, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni) and Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) have announced that up to £15 billion would be added to the Scottish economy by their proposed offshore wind projects in Scotland via the Crown Estate Scotland’s seabed leasing process.

The partnership has also announced that their combined ScotWind projects would enable a £100 million fund to directly invest into Scottish supply chain companies to support the development of their projects should the partnership’s ScotWind bids be successful.

This funding will support the overall ambition of the partnership to achieve spending of circa 50% with Scottish suppliers in the projects over their lifetime.

The SSE Renewables-Marubeni-CIP supply chain fund will support Scottish businesses, including those from the Oil and Gas sector, to enter the offshore wind sector; will encourage the existing supply chain to establish new facilities in Scotland; will upgrade Scottish port facilities to accommodate future offshore wind deployment; and will support contractual security requirements.

CIP also said its partnership is fully committed to the UK and Scotland’s future supply chain and the green recovery and they will be investing £500,000 of the proposed fund to help 16-24 year olds enter the industry and help the supply chain bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Offshore solar to feature in hybrid marine energy demonstration plant

An offshore, “open ocean” solar farm co-located with floating wind turbines will be developed off the Belgian coast as part of a major European bid to demonstrate the large-scale, continuous power potential of hybrid offshore marine energy parks.

The €45 m project, called the European SCalable Offshore Renewable Energy Sources (EU -SCORES), will combine the technologies and expertise of 16 project partners led by the DMEC (Dutch Marine Energy Centre), including RWE RenewablesEnel Green Power and Simply Blue Energy.

A statement from UK Project partners, offshore engineering company INNOSEA, said the consortium would start work this month on “two highly comprehensive and impactful demonstrations,” including an offshore solar farm colocated with wind.

Innosea said the 3MW solar system would be developed by Oceans of Energy off the Belgian coast and would be co-located with a “bottom fixed” offshore wind farm.

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World’s most powerful tidal turbine is now generating power

Orbital Marine Power Ltd O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, has commenced grid connected power generation at the EMEC: European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. The innovative, floating turbine is anchored in the Fall of Warness where a subsea cable connects the 2MW offshore unit to the local onshore electricity network.

Manufactured and launched in Dundee Forth Ports Limited earlier in the year before being towed up to Orkney, the O2 is Orbital’s first commercial turbine and represents the culmination of more than 15 years of world leading product development in the UK.

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Subsea 7 swoops on stake in Spanish floating wind technology developer

Engineering giant takes interest in NAUTILUS Floating Solutions, however the Bilbao-based company will retain autonomy from its new majority shareholder.

Oslo-listed service provider Subsea 7 has struck a deal to acquire a majority stake in Spanish floating wind technology developer NAUTILUS Floating Solutions.

Subsea 7 confirmed it would be acquiring a 59.12% stake in Nautilus and assuming four of the seven positions on the Nautilus board.

Nautilus has developed a concept for a floating wind foundation based on a semi-submersible steel structure that supports a centrally-placed wind turbine and is moored by a conventional catenary mooring system of four legs.

Nautilus claims its four column design with a ring pontoon is a well-known structure concept in the oil and gas industry and can maximise energy production of large wind turbines while limiting expensive offshore integration and maintenance procedures.

Subsea 7 said it would provide Nautilus with technical expertise, along with engineering and project management capabilities to support the advancement of the design, with plans for the concept to be included in tenders for demonstrator or pilot projects as early as this year.

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