SSE to Spend GBP 100 Million Less than Expected in 2017/2018

Greater Gabbard OWF. Source: SSE/ archive (cropped)

SSE informed that it expects its 2017/2018 capital and investment expenditure to be around GBP 1.6 billion, instead of previously anticipated GBP 1.7 billion. From 1 April to 31 December 2017, SSE’s capital spend totalled GBP 1.1 billion and has included, among other things, around GBP 355 million investment in on- and offshore wind. 

Nevertheless, over the four-year period to March 2020, SSE still expects its investment and capital expenditure to be around GBP 6 billion, with some GBP 5 billion of this already committed to economically-regulated electricity networks and government-mandated renewable energy projects.

In its report on the nine months to 31 December 20147, SSE reported that the output of renewable energy during this period was around 25% higher than in the same period in 2016, saying this is broadly in line with the company’s expectations at the start of this financial year. SSE’s recorded wind generation output of 4TWh during this time, compared to 3TWh marked for the same period of the previous year. The company said the increase in output resulted from wetter and windier weather conditions in 2017, meaning output was up around 14% on a like-for-like basis, with the balance from more onshore wind farm capacity in operation.

In offshore wind, SSE has a 50% stake in Greater Gabbard and a 25.1% stake Walney offshore wind farm, both operational. The company also holds 40% of the Beatrice offshore wind farm, currently under construction, and 50% of the Seagreen offshore wind project which had its consent reinstated in November 2017. SSE is also in a joint venture with Statoil on the Dogger Bank Creyke Beck A and B and Dogger Bank Teesside A projects.

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Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

Photo of the Day: Acta Auriga Taking Final Shape

Ulstein has shared a photo of Acta Marine’s service operation vessel (SOV) Acta Auriga under construction at Ulstein Verft.

Source: Acta Marine/ Benny Banen

Ulstein is currently conducting outfitting and commissioning of the Acta Auriga in Ulsteinvik, Norway.

Acta Auriga recently won a contract to service Offshore Breeze Energy’s Bard Offshore 1 wind farm in the German North Sea. The two-year charter will see the vessel perform logistical support for maintenance activities at the 400MW wind farm, operating out of Emden.

The 93.4 meter long Acta Auriga is an Ulstein-designed X-bow & X-stern DP2 OSV equipped with SMST motion compensated gangway with integrated elevator and crane functionality. It is able to perform 3D compensated lifts with its 6t SMST 3D crane and is equipped with a fuel-efficient drive system.

The vessel comprises covered warehousing facilities, integrated people and cargo logistics and stepless approach to the offshore installations. A total of 120 people can stay onboard in its 80 cabins.

Ulstein is expected to deliver the vessel at the end of Q1 2018, after which it will undergo trials and commence its works at the offshore site.

Upon delivery, Acta Auriga will join Acta Orion, her semi-sister vessel, and as such form the second vessel in the Acta fleet dedicated for W2W, offshore logistics and accommodation services for clients in the offshore renewable industry.

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Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

Seagreen Schedules Offshore Wind Talks

Seagreen Wind Energy Limited is hosting three public exhibitions in February to allow local residents and interested parties the opportunity to view details of proposed modifications to the offshore works on the Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo wind farms off Scotland.

The public exhibitions will be held on 26, 27 and 28 February in Arbroath, Montrose, and Carnoustie, respectively.

In the time since the original consent application in 2012, on which the 2014 decision was based, there has been considerable development in offshore wind farm design, driven largely by increases in wind turbine size and generation capacity and by developments in foundation design, Seagreen said.

The developer is therefore considering its options to progress the 1,050MW Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo with potential modifications to the consents to incorporate these design developments and parameters of the larger wind turbines.

This could enable Seagreen to achieve the wind farm generating capacity using a reduced number of wind turbines. As already consented the wind farms are located a minimum of 27km from the Angus coastline, which will not change.

In order to progress modification to the consents, Seagreen have appointed NIRAS as EIA Coordinator for the necessary offshore environmental works which are currently underway. EIA completion and submission to Marine Scotland is programmed for May 2018.

In April 2017, Seagreen submitted a Scoping Report which outlined the proposed revisions to the consent in relation to substructure design and wind turbine parameters.

Seagreen Wind Energy Limited is a 50/50 joint venture partnership between SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy plc) and Fluor Limited, the UK operating arm of Fluor Corporation.

Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

SSE renewable energy output increases

Its wind generation output increased from 3TWh to 4TWh in the nine months to 31 December, while its renewables output was up by around 14% year-on-year, over the same period.

By 2020, SSE expects its renewable energy capacity (including pumped storage) to grow by 4.3GW and to be capable of generating 12TWh a year from renewable sources it said in a trading statement for the third quarter of 2017. It produced 6.5TWh in nine months to 31 December.

This increase in capacity could include power from the up-to-1.5GW Seagreen offshore wind farm (Firth of Forth Phase One) in the Scottish North Sea, which it jointly owns with construction company Fluor. Following a judicial review in November, consent was reinstated for the project.

SSE also commissioned 516MW of new onshore capacity in the last nine months of the year, including its 171MW Galway site in western Ireland, and currently has 481MW in construction — both onshore and offshore, it confirmed.

SSE also confirmed that it still expects the 588MW Beatrice project — of which it owns 40% (235MW) — to be commissioned in 2019. “Substantive progress” has been made on the North Sea site, SSE stated, with 36 of 84 turbine jackets now installed.

It expects its capital and investment expenditure for 2017/18 will now total around £1.6 billion (€1.82 billion) — down from the previously anticipated £1.7 billion (€1.93 billion). SSE did not give an explanation for this decrease.

Its capital expenditure in the nine months since 1 April 2017 totalled £1.1 billion (€1.25 billion), including about £355 million (€403 million) in wind (both onshore and offshore).

SSE also confirmed that the planned merger of its household energy supply and service business with Innogy subsidiary Npower — and so possibly the creation of the UK’s second biggest energy supplier — “remains on course to be completed by the last quarter of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019”.

The company also stated that it “expects to report an annual increase in the full-year dividend that at least keeps pace with Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation”.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, the utility’s chief executive, said: “The SSE group will evolve significantly between now and the end of the next financial year.

“There will be a greater focus on creating value from owning, operating and developing assets and infrastructure; and we will contribute to the creation of a new energy supply market model that combines the resources and experience of two established players with the focus and agility of an independent supplier.”

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Canada adds 340MW in 2017

The association said the 340NW of new projects — located in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia — represented C$800m ($658m) in investment.

“Municipalities and communities have ownership stakes in half of the new projects, which is a reflection of a growing global trend towards greater community involvement in wind energy development,” CanWEA said.

Canada’s newly installed capacity was down from the 702MW added in 2016, and was lower than CanWEA’s forecast for 2017.

The association was, however, encouraged by December’s auction in Alberta, which procured 600MW for an average C$37/MWh ($30/MWh).

The auction was the first step in Alberta’s plan to add up to 5GW of renewable energy to its grid by 2030. It currently has roughly 1.5GW installed.

CanWEA expects the market to rebound slightly in 2018, with 600MW of new capacity to be added this year.

“From Nova Scotia to British Columbia, wind once again proved in 2017 that it is a reliable, scalable solution to climate change that is delivering low-cost energy and local economic benefits to communities across Canada,” said CanWEA president Robert Hornung.

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Full-scale self-erecting tower demo underway

The Spanish company’s Nabralift prototype tower is constructed using hydraulic jacks on the ground that elevate sections and introduce new modules underneath.

Tower pieces that are smaller than the industry standard are used in the tower, the company stated, which eliminates the need for specialised trucks and cranes.

Nabrawind will carry out six months of fatigue testing on the turbine to simulate 25 years of real-life conditions at a test site in Navarra, northern Spain.

It will do this by vibrating the upper part of the 160-metre-high tower to generate load, the company stated.

The prototype tower consists of two segments: a three-column, 86-metre frame structure, with a 71-metre conventional tower placed on top. Nabrawind eventually aims to use the self-erecting system on turbines with tower heights of up to 200 metres, it added.

It expects to deliver the first series of the self-erecting turbine towers next year.

“With this test, we will confirm in an accelerated way the performance of the tower in operation,” said Ion Arocena, Head of Nabrawind’s tower program.

“This will improve the reliability of the structure and minimise any technical risks before the first pre-series.” 

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Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Kent Champions UK Offshore Wind

The global expenditure on offshore wind in the UK is expected to reach GBP 108 billion between 2018 and 2022, and Kent-based companies are ideally placed to capture a significant share in the opportunities, according to Kent County Council.

The UK has the most economically attractive offshore wind resources in Europe and could expand its offshore wind capacity to almost five times its current level by 2030, a recent report by Aurora Energy Research suggests.

There are eight UK wind farms in operation or in development relatively close to the Kent coast, including the world’s largest operating wind farm, the 630MW London Array in the Thames Estuary.

However, Kent’s advantages go well beyond its geographical proximity to offshore wind developments, the Council said, adding that the city is home to a number of businesses that can provide the products, services and skills essential for wind farm development and operation.

“Offshore wind represents a huge potential market for Kent business,” said Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development of Kent County Council.

“As well as a large and growing domestic market, the global growth of offshore wind opens up great export opportunities for those able to demonstrate the ability to service the offshore wind market.”

The nature of the offshore wind supply chain means that there are vast opportunities for smaller companies, but many struggle with understanding the market and engaging with potential clients, the Council said, emphasizing that it thus developed a range of tools to help understand the concept.

As part of the Inn2POWER consortium, Kent County Council established the Kent Wind Energy portal, an online directory and information resource that supports local supply chain development and puts offshore wind owners in touch with local businesses.

The directory allows buyers to search for services across the offshore wind supply chain, including project development, equipment design and manufacture, construction and operation, as well as more general support such as accommodation, recruitment and office supplies.

Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

Modus Shares Autonomous Subsea Inspection AVISIoN

Darlington-based subsea specialist Modus is developing an approach to enable autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to remain at offshore wind farm sites without a support vessel.

If used across the currently operating offshore wind farms, this world-first autonomous subsea survey and inspection system could save European operators GBP 1.1 billion (EUR 1.25bn) over the next 25 years, according to Modus.

Modus Seabed Intervention, in partnership with Osbit Ltd and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, is trialling an AUV docking station. The design will enable vehicle re-charging, as well as the upload of acquired data and download of mission commands, Modus said.

The use of AUVs to survey and inspect offshore wind farm subsea infrastructure is a relatively new cost-efficiency measure in this sector. Replacing support vessels with the AUV docking station could further reduce expenditure. In addition to the estimated GBP 1.1 billion saving across the current European offshore wind farms, the scheme will also significantly reduce the need for staff to work in often hazardous environments, according to Modus.

“Since 2012, Modus has been focusing on the development of hybrid AUV systems to be deployed for subsea and seabed survey, and inspection,” said Managing Director of Modus and project lead Jake Tompkins.

“Part of our vision is to see AUVs becoming field resident, offering significant cost savings and quality benefits to the markets and our customers.”

The Autonomous Vehicle for the Inspection of offshore wind farm Subsea INfrastructure (AVISIoN) project has received funding from Innovate UK. This will enable further development, testing and demonstrations of Modus’ existing Hybrid AUV capability, and docking station.

Testing will take place at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland. The first phase will use saltwater testing docks and Catapult’s National Anemometry Hub. Offshore wind farm developers innogy, EDF Energy and E.ON are also supporting the project, with innogy agreeing to carry commercial trials at the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm.

Graham Thorpe, Asset Integrity Engineer for innogy, said: “As a large offshore wind farm operator, innogy promotes innovation and is happy to aid in the development of technology that will help drive down maintenance costs and potentially benefit the industry as a whole.”

Source: Test from Offshore Wind News

Belgium, UK Businesses Eye Belgian OWFs Together

More than 40 UK offshore wind supply chain companies and the key Belgian offshore wind players met on 25 January in Brussels to discuss opportunities for collaborating in the framework of three future Belgian projects: Mermaid, Seastar and Northwester 2.

The businesses also looked at delivering innovative solutions for the operations and maintenance activities of the existing Belgian projects.

Image source: UK DIT

The supply chain event was organised by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT). British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose, opened the event by emphasising the benefits of a closer collaboration between the industry in both countries in order to help reach the climate targets.

In October 2017, Belgian government reached an agreement with the developers of the three aforementioned offshore wind projects on a price of EUR 79/MWh as part of the government’s support scheme. The 224MW Northwester 2, 246MW Seastar and 246MW Mermaid will be built between 2018 and 2020 and for a much lower level of support than previous wind farms.

The operational wind farms off Belgium include C-Power (Thornton Bank), Belwind, Northwind and Nobelwind, and the country is bound to get two more in the near future with the Rentel project currently under construction and the Norther offshore wind farm in the pre-construction stage.

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Source: Test from Offshore Wind News