Exploring the prospects for offshore wind energy in Norway

Global offshore conference


WindEurope was at the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS 2018) event in Stavanger this week to promote the future prospects of offshore wind power.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson presented the outlook for offshore wind in Europe. There is currently 17 GW of offshore wind power capacity in Europe – providing 1.5% of Europe’s electricity – Dickson explained. 2017 was a record year, with installed capacity expanding by 25% whilst prices continue to tumble and wind turbines grow ever more powerful.

There is a stable pipeline of offshore wind farm projects over the next four years, which will take Europe to 26 GW of offshore capacity by 2020. However, there is uncertainty in some countries post-2020 and the growth of offshore has been too concentrated in too few markets, Dickson explained. Germany and the UK installed 3 GW of the 3.1 GW offshore wind installed in Europe in 2017.

The event coincided with news from Equinor that it would be exploring the possibility of deploying floating offshore wind to power its oil and gas production platforms in Norway. The project would consist of 11 wind turbines based on Equinor’s floating offshore wind concept, Hywind. The 8 MW turbines would have a combined capacity of 88 MW, enough to meet about 35% of the annual power demand of the five platforms.

“This project is really interesting in two respects,” Dickson explained. “It’s going to be the first time that offshore wind powers oil and gas production facilities. This will offer significant CO2 emissions reduction potential. It also demonstrates that floating offshore wind is coming of age. Hywind Scotland has already proved a great success. Equinor is now looking to take this a step further in what will be the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm. Thanks to a pipeline of projects, we expect European floating offshore wind capacity to grow to 350 MW as soon as 2021”.

The news came on the back of a previous announcement by the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Søviknes, that Norway is set to unveil two sites for floating offshore wind plants later this year.

  Exploring the prospects for offshore wind energy in Norway
by reve (30/08/2018)

How climate change influences wind power

Global climate change

Impacts of clime change map

Climate change poses a big challenge for wind energy production in Europe. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) using spatially and temporally highly resolved climate models. The mean wind power production of the entire European continent will change only slightly by the end of the 21st century. However, stronger seasonal fluctuations and a more frequent occurrence of low wind phases are expected.

Electricity from renewable sources already contributes a major share to the European energy supply. In the course of the energy transition, the share of regenerative sources in the German energy mix will be further increased. Wind power has proved to be a promising renewable energy source. Still, since wind power production is strongly influenced by the prevailing weather and climate conditions, it is subject to both short-term fluctuations and climate change. Scientists of the Regional Climate and Weather Hazards group of KIT's Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research – Troposphere Research Division (IMK-TRO), together with researchers of the University of Cologne, analyzed regional climate projections to study future changes of wind speeds and wind energy potentials in Europe until the end of this century. The results are now published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

For their study, the researchers used a model ensemble of high spatial and temporal resolution, which is based on simulations of the European climate modeling project EURO-CORDEX (Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment – European Domain). CORDEX is the regional contribution to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The spatial resolution is twelve kilometers, and the temporal resolution is three hours. This allows for a more precise quantification of wind power production on the regional scale. For the calculations, a typical wind power plant with a hub height of 100 m is assumed.

The analysis reveals that only small variations of mean wind power production are to be expected at the continental scale for Europe by the end of the 21st century. These variations should remain within the range of plus/minus 5%. "For some countries, however, much higher changes in the range of plus/minus 20% can be expected" says Professor Joaquim G. Pinto, who leads the "Regional Climate and Weather Hazards" group at IMK-TRO. "Moreover, these changes may be subject to strong seasonal fluctuations."

According to the study, an increased variability of wind power production on different time scales has to be expected for large parts of northern, central, and eastern Europe, from daily to annual time scales. Wind speeds optimal for power production are expected to occur somewhat less frequently over the sea areas. At the same time, more frequent low wind phases with wind speeds below 3 m per second are expected over continental Europe. This will further increase the volatility of wind power production.

According to the projections, climate change will affect wind power production in various areas in different ways. "In the Baltics and the Aegean, wind power production might profit from climate change," says Julia Mömken, who is a member of the "Regional Climate and Weather Hazards" group of IMK-TRO. "By contrast, negative impacts are expected for Germany, France, and the Iberian Peninsula." The projected changes imply big challenges for wind power production in Europe. However, appropriate countermeasures, such as an extended use of decentralized wind energy production and a more extensive and reliable European power distribution grid might reduce the impacts of climate change on wind power production.

  How climate change influences wind power
by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (08/08/2018)
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