Attacks on offshore continue

The first turbines were due online in 2020, but it now looks likely to be 2022-23 at the earliest.

In June, a group of 15 associations lodged a complaint with the European Commission, claiming the projects are “in contradiction with the protection of the marine environment” and are in breach of EU law.

A complaint is a non-judicial mechanism that allows any EU citizen to denounce an alleged failure of a member state under EU law.

Although the details have not yet been made public, in a statement the associations said the complaint covered six broad areas: breach of environmental-assessment obligations; maritime spatial planning; public information and participation in the decision-making process; protection of wildlife and its habitat; organisation of the internal energy market; and the prohibition of state aid. 

The state-aid aspect is the most worrying, said Marion Lettry, assistant executive commissioner of renewable-energy trade body SER, especially given the prolonged battle to secure the onshore tariff against attack. “We don’t know if the associations have submitted another complaint against the question of state aid,” Lettry said. 

While many questions remain, the EC now has 12 months to examine the complaint. According to SER, the EC does not pursue around 80% of complaints. 

Meanwhile, new legal challenges were lodged in July against the concession agreements (the right to use the public maritime domain) granted to the Fécamp and Courseulles-sur-Mer projects. This came just weeks after the administrative appeal court in Nantes dismissed earlier challenges under the law on water. 

This new appeal will likely delay the projects by at least another six months. “The associations are challenging each authorisation separately to lengthen the process. They want to kill the projects,” said Amandine Delsaux, a senior associate at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. 

As a result, the entire sector is blocked as the developers, in this case a consortium led by EDF Energies Nouvelles, put off the final investment decision — and placing orders — until the projects are clear of appeals.

On a more positive note, new French environment minister Nicolas Hulot said he wants to simplify the permitting system. The idea is for the state to secure all the necessary permits before projects are put to tender, as happens in Denmark and Germany, Lettry said. A bill is expected to be presented to parliament in the autumn.

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

UK Supreme Court to Decide on Robin Rigg Case on 3 August

On 3 August, the UK Supreme Court will hand down the judgement in the case of MT Højgaard vs. E.ON Climate and Renewables regarding the Robin Rigg offshore wind farm.

The decision will be made on the liability for the costs of repairing the foundations, considering whether the contract for the design and installation of foundations for the offshore wind farm imposed a fitness for purpose obligation on the contractor amounting to a warranty that said foundations would have a service life of 20 years.

On 20 December 2006, E.ON and MT Højgaard signed a contract for the design, fabrication and installation of the foundations for the wind turbines at Robin Rigg, after E.ON accepted the tender the company submitted in July of that year. In November 2006, MT Højgaard and Rambøll submitted a detailed Foundation Design Basis document, since Rambøll was hired by MT Højgaard to carry out the design work on the project.

MT Højgaard completed the foundation installation in February 2009.

The error in an equation

The facts of the legal case are that from 2007 to 2009, MT Højgaard designed, fabricated and installed the foundations that shortly after the completion of the installation started showing weaknesses in the grouted connections as a result of errors in the then applicable international standard issued by DNV, known as J101.

During a hearing in 2013, an engineer employed by Rambøll, who had designed the grouted connections, said he complied with good industry practice and all the provisions of J101, which was applicable at the time.

The same year Robin Rigg foundations were installed, an issue was discovered at the Egmond aan Zee wind farm in the Netherlands, which caused the grouted connections to fail and led to the transition pieces starting to slip down the monopiles. The same issue started to cause trouble at the Robin Rigg wind farm the following year.

The problem at the Dutch offshore wind farm led DNV to carrying out an internal review during August/September 2009.

The company discovered that there was an error in the value in a specific parametric equation, which was wrong by a factor of about 10, meaning that the axial capacity of the grouted connections at Horns Rev 1, Egmond aan Zee, Robin Rigg and certain other wind farms had been substantially over-estimated, according to a court document.

DNV sent a letter to MTH and others in the industry on 28 September 2009, alerting them to the situation and subsequently revising J101 to correct the error.

The grouted connections at Robin Rigg started to fail in April 2010 with the transition pieces starting to slip down the monopiles.

The court floor

First, E.ON and MT Højgaard embarked on jointly finding a solution to the problem and then agreed that E.ON would develop a scheme of remedial works. These works started in 2014.

The legal proceedings have been initialised to ascertain who should bear the cost of the remedial works, with the legal case taking place simultaneously with the development of the remedial works, during which the companies agreed the cost of the remedial works are EUR 26.25 million, leaving the court to decide who should pay the price.

In 2012, MT Højgaard applied for declarations as to the cost of the remedial works and who should bear that cost, claiming it had exercised reasonable skill and care and complied with all its contractual obligations, and should thus have no liability for the cost.

In the amended defence and counterclaim, E.ON claimed there were numerous breaches of contract by MT Højgaard and counterclaimed for declarations to the effect that MT Højgaard was liable for the defective grouted connections.

The legal action came before a judge in November 2013. In April 2014, the first ruling went against MT Højgaard, but the company filed an appeal, and the Court of Appeal reversed the ruling in favour of MT Højgaard in April 2015. The court upheld MT Højgaard’s appeal on the basis that the contract only required that the foundations should have a “design life” of 20 years, meaning that they would probably, but not necessarily, function for 20 years.

E.ON appealed this decision from 2015 before the Supreme Court, claiming that the contract imposed a fitness for purpose obligation on MT Højgaard amounting to a warranty that said foundations would have a service life of 20 years.

The court(s) found Rambøll not negligent in its design of the grouted connections, explaining that it was reasonable to comply with the provisions of the J101 standard and to adopt the stated value for the parametric equation.

Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

Tallest turbine produces 9GWh in first year

The turbine is installed at the Hausbay-Bickenbach project in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of southwest Germany with average wind speeds of 6.1m/s.

It is the tallest onshore turbine installed anywhere to-date, with a 164-metre hub height.

Nordex said the turbine was not continuously available over the year due to “scheduled measuring activities”, so total output could have been higher.

“The volume of electricity generated proves that, especially for sites in regions with low average speeds, powerful turbines with a capacity of 3MW and more, with a large rotor sweep and high towers, are ideally suited for highly efficient operation,” Nordex said.

The CEO of project operator Kreuzberger und Spengler Regenerative Energie, Ulrich Kreuzberger, said he was “very satisfied” with the turbine’s performance.

Two more N131 3.3MW turbines at 164-metre hub heights will be installed at the site, Kreuzberger said.

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

RES Nets Walney 2 OFTO O&M Contract

RES (Renewable Energy Systems) has been awarded a fifteen year contract to provide operations and maintenance (O&M) services to the Walney 2 offshore transmission (OFTO) asset owned by Blue Transmission Walney 2 Limited (BTW2L).

RES’ O&M services will include the provision of planned and unplanned maintenance including 24/7 control room services, fast response and the provision of offshore logistics.

RES already delivers O&M services for the Walney 1 OFTO asset.

Filippo Di Salle, General Manager AO&M for RES Support Services, said: “Winning this second long term O&M contract for an OFTO is a great achievement for RES and will give us the opportunity to keep expanding our offshore operations. In addition to our experience delivering O&M services for Walney 1 OFTO, we’ve been able to use our 10 years expertise in providing services to the offshore wind industry to great effect in successfully winning this project.”

The Walney offshore wind farm is located approximately 15km from the coastline of Walney Island in a north west to south-easterly direction covering an area of approximately 73 km2.

The wind farm consists of Walney 1 and Walney 2, each comprising 51 wind turbines, with a total capacity of 367MW.

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Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

India's 1GW auction receives 2.8GW of bids

After the gamechanging first auction of 1GW of wind earlier this year, the second has established the competitive bidding-based wind procurement as the main market mechanism, replacing the decades old feed-in-tariff models that the states are unwilling to support.

Some of the key players and their capacity bids are: Renew Power, Continuum, Mytrah, Enel, Sembcorp, INOX, Hero, Leapgreen, Adani and Regen Powertech each offering 250MW and Orange and Spring offering 200MW and 198MW of capacity, respectively.

Like the earlier auctions, most of the proposed projects are from states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and except for two OEMs, the bidders are mostly independent power producers.

The reverse auction of the offered capacity is expected to be kick-started in late August after the central regulator clarifies the procedure for prioritising transmission connectivity.

The Indian government is planning to offer about 4GW of wind power capacity this fiscal and raise the capacity to 5-6GW from the next fiscal.

A senior ministry official also hinted at a plan to go for monthly auctions after duly evaluating the impact of the frequent auctions on price volatility.

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

First Blyth Gravity-Based Foundation Installed, Second Up Next

The first gravity-based foundation (GBF) built for the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Project has been installed onto the seabed. The second of the total of five GBFs has also arrived at the site and is ready to be installed.

This marks the first time the specialist ‘float and submerge’ method has been used on an offshore wind farm, EDF Energy Renewables reported via social media.

In June 2016, Royal BAM Group won a contract to design, fabricate and install five full-size gravity base foundations on the offshore wind farm located 5.7km off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland.

The foundation design utilises ‘self-installing’ technology, developed by two BAM companies, BAM Nuttall and BAM Infra. The design has been carried out by BAM Infraconsult, which assigned COWI to assist with geotechnical interpretation and load definition.

The foundations combine a steel reinforced concrete foundation, with a steel monopile, allowing the installation in water depth of up to 45 metres while eliminating noise from pile hammering during installation.

The 41.5MW Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Project is the first to utilise the hybrid gravity based foundations, as well as 66kV electrical infrastructure.

It will feature five MHI Vestas 8MW turbines optimised to deliver a maximum output of 8.3MW.

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Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

Japanese consortium buys Irish wind stake

The Shamrock consortium comprises utility Kansai Electric Power (Kepco), lender Mitsubishi UFJ Lease and Finance (MUFG) and investment firm Sojitz.

It has acquired the majority share in a portfolio of five wind projects developed by local firm Invis Energy. MUFG said it was the firm’s first foreign investment in energy generation.

Four of the sites are in operation and was completed between 2013 and 2017. The four operating projects are: 44.4MW Knocknagoum, 44MW Leitir Guingaid Leitir Peic, 65MW Knockduff, 25MW Killaveenoge. 

The fifth project, the 45MW Slievecallan West site, is under construction due to be completed in early 2018. It will comprise 18 Nordex N90 2.5MW turbines.

Invis will retain a 40% stake in the five projects, which are located in the southwest of Ireland.

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Spain bullish with 1.13GW of wind auctioned

The auction allocated a total of 5,037MW of renewable energy; 1,128MW to wind and 3,909MW to PV solar.

The other top dogs in the wind allocation were all Spanish firms: Ibervento, with 172MW, Greenalia Power with 133MW, Hocensa with 49MW and Gestamp with 24MW.

The auction was the third renewables bidding process to take place in the past 18 months, in which a total of 8,737MW has been allocated; 4,607 MW to wind, 4,110MW to PV and 20MW to biomass.

The auctions mark the beginning of a renewed boom for Spanish renewables, in effective moratorium since 2012.

Yet wind association AEE is worried financiers may be cautious. The pay mechanism—which provides a floor price to wind if the spot market plummets—is based on a regulation to be renewed entirely end-2019; exactly when the new capacity is due for commissioning.

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Top News of the Week, 24 – 30 July 2017

Siemens Gamesa Integrates Adwen in Its Offshore Business

Siemens Gamesa has agreed to integrate Adwen within the group’s broader offshore operations, which will allow it to better serve its customers and maximise business opportunities, Siemens Gamesa informed in its Q3 report, released on 26 July.

First Hywind Turbine Arrives in Scottish Waters

The first floating wind turbine for the Hywind Scotland project has arrived off Aberdeenshire, after setting sail from the project’s assembly base in Stord, Norway, last week.

First Monopiles In at Rentel Offshore Wind Farm

The first monopiles have been installed at the Rentel offshore wind farm, according to DEME Group, whose daughter company GeoSea is carrying out the works with its installation vessel Innovation.

Tecnalia Hits Two-Digit-Megawatt Mark, Patents 10MW Offshore Wind Generator

Tecnalia has led an European consortium for the development of a novel 10MW lightweight and reliable generator based on superconducting materials. The concept has been patented in Europe and the U.S., and a prototype has been built to validate the system.

Statoil Confirms First Hywind Turbine Floated Into Place

Following reports on the first turbine arriving at the site of the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in Scotland, Statoil today confirmed that the first of five Siemens 6MW turbines, mounted on a SPAR-type floating foundation, is at its designated location.

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Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

Expertise Hub VIDEO: Throwing Away the Rulebook to Roll Out Novel Solutions (Siemens)

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During the development of its new Offshore Transformer Module (OTM), Siemens team “threw away the rulebook” and got the weight down, because stripping the weight means stripping the costs. It removes the need for specialised heavy-lift vessels and allows using vessels already deployed on the field to install turbine foundations. 

This is according to Mike Grainger, Director Grid Access at Siemens AG, with whom we spoke at the beginning of June in London.

The company sent its first of two OTMs for the Beatrice offshore wind farm in May, and will also deliver the AC solution for the Albatros project in Germany.

In terms of DC grid access solutions, Siemens is working on the BorWin gamma platform and has received an order from TenneT to supply the entire technology for direct-current transmission for DolWin6, a grid connection for offshore wind farms in the German waters of the North Sea. The latter is not mentioned in our interview since the company announced the order in mid-July.

Together with its wind power division, now Siemens Gamesa, Siemens has also embarked on the delivery of integrated solutions for offshore wind.

Watch our Expertise Hub video and find out more about this part of the industry, as well as Siemens’ grid access business and solutions from Mike Grainger.


For more Expertise Hub interviews, visit Navingo’s Offshore WIND channel on Vimeo

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Posted on July 28, 2017

Source: Test from Offshore Wind News