XEMC Studies northern Ireland for $148 Million wind-turbine Factory (UK)
XEMC Group, the Chinese company that bought Dutch wind-turbine maker Darwind BV last year, is studying Northern Ireland as location for a $148 million production base. Read more
The group’s wind-energy unit, XEMC Darwind BV, may locate its European turbine assembly plant and blade factory in the U.K. province, Peter McCormick, chief executive officer of XEMC Darwind’s local marketing and distribution partner Titan Energy Associates, said today by telephone.
The company, which can make 1,000 turbines per year at its Chinese facilities, is also mulling the Republic of Ireland and Holland for the two plants, McCormick said.
XEMC will decide by the end of November after a three-month feasibility study, he said. At the chosen location XEMC Darwind aims to make 200 turbines per year and create 600 jobs by 2016.
“The local and domestic markets in England and Ireland would be easily served from a base in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland,” he said. It could also serve the U.S. market, where XEMC Darwind has established customer relationships, said McCormick.
“Advancing in tandem” with the European factory are plans to set up in the U.S., said McCormick. The company’s technology, a gearless turbine, is a “great door-opener” in the market, he said. Without gearboxes wind turbines can be lighter, more reliable, require less maintenance and therefore operate for longer.
Alongside a 2.5-megawatt capacity machine for onshore wind farms, the company is developing the 5-megawatt version for the offshore market.
A delegation from XEMC Group, which acquired Darwind from its bankrupt previous owner Dutch holding company Econcern, visited Northern Ireland during the last two days to discuss the plans. This marked the group’s first U.K. visit, according to a statement released by the company.
By Sally Bakewell (bloomberg)
Vattenfall and SWM in offshore windfarm agreement
European energy company Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München (SWM) have signed an agreement to build an offshore wind farm 70km west of the island of Sylt.
The 80 turbines used on the DanTysk wind farm will stretch across a 70km2 area in water depths up to 30m. Read more
SWM will take a 49 per cent stake in the wind farm, while Vattenfall will remain the majority owner.
The plans to construct and operate the wind farm are already well advanced, and negotiations with suppliers for turbines and other components are underway. According to current plans, the first turbines would be commissioned in 2013.
Dutch offshore wind sector goes far offshore and aims for harbour at sea. Read more
"In order to make the Dutch government's goal of using 6000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2020 a reality, the realisation of the FLOW-project is essential." At a conference held on 2nd and 3rd December in the Dutch port Den Helder, Martin Weismann, senior developer of RWE Offshore Wind Netherlands, the Dutch division of the German RWE energy company, made it clear that it is in The Hague's interest to fully support the plan for a far and large offshore wind farm (FLOW) that RWE has launched with ECN (the Dutch research institute for development of renewable energy technologies) and the Technical University Delft. The R&D aspect of the plan commenced at the turn of the year. Linked with the FLOW-project, a consortium of Dutch offshore wind related companies are aiming to build a "harbour at sea" to service future for offshore wind farms in a more efficient and cost effective manner.
The goal of the FLOW-consortium Is the development and construction of the 300 MW offshore wind farm, 75 km off IJmuiden on the Dutch coast. Currently there are no wind farms in the world operating at such a distance from the coast and at these depths (between 30 and 35 metres). The total investment is estimated at 750 million Euros. RWE will construct the offshore meteorological mast as the first step towards the realisation of the demo farm later this year. This mast will deliver information on wind speed and patterns for the realisation of the Tromp farm, named after the famous 17th century Dutch admiral.
The FLOW-consortium stresses that the lessons learnt during the programme will be commercialised in future large-scale investment in offshore wind farms and will also accelerate this funding. RWE Offshore Wind director Martin Skiba told Offshore Wind in an interview that he thinks that the FLOW-project is very important because it will teach how to operate a wind farm at such a distance from the coast, while reducing the costs and risks. Also that the project will give rise to standardised technologies and installation methods and help to create a market, because competition in this business is minimal now. According to Skiba, the project will particularly help to solve persistent bottlenecks such as the availability of offshore wind turbines and the shortage of installation and cable laying vessels.
He expects RWE's entire offshore wind portfolio to benefit from FLOW. RWE lnnogy already operates two offshore wind farms in Wales and is also involved in construction and developing projects in the UK (Gwynt y Mor, Greater Gabbard), Belgium (Thornton Bank) and Germany (Nordsee Ost, Innogy Nordsee 1). The FLOW-programme should enable the Dutch offshore industry to acquire a leading position in the fast-growing European market for offshore wind energy. Along with the Netherlands, other North Sea countries, in particular Denmark, the UK, Belgium and Germany, are designing and constructing wind farms in the North Sea and have ambitious plans for the future.
The FLOW-consortium estimates that in 30 years time. About 80.000 MW in total will be installed in the North Sea. Currently, only two offshore wind farms have been built in Dutch waters, Egmond aan Zee (108 MW) and Prinses Amalla (former Q7, 120 MW). The Dutch government will subsidise the construction of another 950 MW before 2015, of which the 300 MW from Tromp is expected to be included. This will be announced on 1st April. Overall, 14 developers are hoping to be selected, but 11 of them will probably drop out of the race.
LACK OF CONFIDENCE
The FLOW-consortium hopes to obtain some 60 million Euros of government support spread over a period of five years, but insiders at the Ministry of Economic Affairs anticipate that The Hague will come up with less money. The consortium also wants the government to make its target of 6000 MW of offshore wind power by 2020 a reality, meaning that a stable and target-orientated policy is required.
'The Netherlands is not on the same stable offshore wind track as the UK and Germany,' Skiba stresses. 'The Hague cannot fulfil the target of 6000 MW by 2020 by coming up with guidelines and conditions for 950 MW over the next couple of years. To make the goal of 6000 MW a reality, the industry needs two things: a stable concessions system and a long-term subsidy support mechanism. The government is now working towards such a system.
As a result of environmental and harbour restrictions, the Netherlands, like neighbouring countries, does not have enough sites available close to the coast. The government has indicated that at least 50% or even 60% of the 6000 MW required will have to be built far offshore. Skiba estimates that it will be 4000 MW: 'Our R&D plan for FLOW can help in preparing for this, but at the end of the day we obviously want to build a wind farm that is commercially vlable.'
Apart from ECN, TU Delft and RWE, which is participating through Essent - the local subsidiary it acquired last year - the consortium is also comprised of the offshore contractors Ballast Nedam and Van Oord, specialist shipbuilder IHC Merwede, and offshore wind turbine developers XEMC Darwind and 2-B Energy. Eneco, another Dutch energy producer, as well as the national transmission system operator TenneT, are also
CALL FOR 25 BILLION
The plan for a harbour at sea near the FLOW-location stems from the offshore wind investigation programme We@Sea, which was started in 2004 with government support of 12.9 million Euros for a period of five years. A foundation and private partnership have been set up in order to realise this offshore wind 'hub' by 2015. According to the instigators, several of whom also take part in FLOW, the artificial island will serve as an operating base for the Tromp farm as well as for other wind farms that are expected to be built in this area off the Dutch coast.
Taking into account the number of wind farms that are projected for the whole of the Dutch part of the North Sea and adjacent areas of neighbouring countries, the general director of We@Sea, Chris Westra, thinks that there is room for three such harbours at sea in Dutch waters. Since the Minister of Economic Affairs, Maria van der Hoeven, recently stood up for the project in a letter to Parliament, Westra expects to receive a million Euros for a feasibility study in the coming months.
The procedure for obtaining a building permit for the three islands from the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management has also been started, but will take at least a year or two to finalise. In Den Helder, Westra repeated his call for The Hague to come up with a new offshore wind industry policy to support the emerging national offshore wind industry, following the example of the UK, Denmark, Germany and Spain. The We@Sea-director stresses that in order to realise the goal of 6000 MW by 2020/21, the sector needs 25 billion Euros of government support spread out over a period of 20 years until 2035.
OFFSHORE WIND HUB
The harbour at sea-design is in the shape of a circle with a diameter of one kilometre. A dike protects the artificial island against heavy seas. The island itself is designed as a statlon for transporting, assembling and maintaining offshore wind turbines. There is room for two contractors and two sets of 20 installation vessels of all kinds. Westra: 'As each spread of vessels has an installation capacity of a hundred 5 MW turbines per year, the total installation capacity of such a hub is 1000 MW annually.'
The island will also provide accommodation for personnel and space for workshops and the storage of spare parts. There will be foundations for commissioning assembled turbines and a test site with room for five of them. The support base will have a heliport and will also serve as an electrical hub, with a transformer station and a cable connection to the coast. The realisation costs of a harbour at sea are estimated at 750 million Euros. Discussions with the port authorities of Amsterdam are taking place about the possible use of a site near the port of IJmuiden for the construction of the concrete foundations that will be used for the future far shore wind farms. The Tromp wind farm will be the first one in Dutch waters to use this type of support structure.
In its report 'Oceans of Opportunity', the EWEA underllnes that multi-purpose platforms such as the Dutch harbour at sea concept could enable installation and maintenance sailing times at future large far shore wind farms to be reduced. However, at the conference in Den Helder, technical project manager Bart Ummels of Siemens Wind Power was sceptical about the concept. Ummels stressed that in the coming years, larger and faster installation vessels will come onto the market along with hotel vessels and offshore platforms with accommodation for crews involved in building and maintenance activities. What's more, new installation methods will start to be used and a new generation of offshore direct drive turbines that will require less maintenance will be available. Ummels, therefore, believes that there wlll be no need for the artificial service islands proposed by the We@Sea-consortium.
NEW OFFSHORE WIND TURBINES
On 2nd November, the Ministry of Transport gave RWE permission to build the Tromp farm. With the installation of the turbines set to start in 2012, Tromp should be fully operational by Q3 2013 (earliest projection). Tromp will also offer room for some new offshore wind turbine designs. The Dutch offshore wind turbine developers Darwind and 2-B Energy hope to have their machines installed in Tromp. Darwind was
founded in 2005, and was taken over last year by the Chinese conglomerate XECM after its former owner, the Dutch Econcern Group, went bankrupt. The new Sino-Dutch company is currently working on the third generation of direct drive offshore wind turbines. The prototype of the 5 MW turbine will be put into operation in 2010 and commercial production is scheduled to start from 2011.
2-B Energy, founded in 2007, is developing a 2 blade 6MW offshore wind turbine with the rotor installed at the backside of the mast. A prototype will be put into use in 2011.
Synergy Marine Launches new website
Kristian D. Kossen founder of Synergy Marine is proud to announce the launching of the new www.synergymarine.nl website Read more
Synergy Marine is a company based in the Netherlands that is specialized in offshore operations management with the practical touch. The main services provided by Synergy Marine are to the offshore wind energy and renewable industry with years of expertise and marine coordination orientated. Covering all aspects of offshore operations for offshore wind projects. Including web-based overall project management solutions, vessel surveillance, offshore communication, offshore people tracking, marine engineering, offshore client representation, offshore health and safety with related procedures and many more.