British Energy Secretary Claire Perry announced on 7th March the launch of the offshore wind sector agreement between government and industry for the UK. Offshore wind energy is expected to cover one third of the UK's electricity needs by 2030 with an installed capacity of 30 GW. Starting in May 2019, the government will conduct offshore wind auctions every two years. The agreement also provides for industry to invest 250 million pounds to drive the sector forward.
Further targets include an increase in global exports, an increase in UK companies' participation in offshore wind projects to 60 percent and further cost reductions. The number of jobs in the industry is expected to triple to 27,000 by 2030.
At the beginning of March, a new project of the German OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE foundation was launched, which is intended to create the further conceptual, technical and logistical prerequisites for the construction of a national test field for offshore wind energy. The new test field to be built is part of the coalition agreement of the Federal Government. It has already been designated as an area in the in the spatial development programme of the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania since mid-2016. In particular, the test field needs a fast grid connection in order to trigger appropriate investment security.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania recently successfully launched a corresponding Federal Council initiative as part of the consultation on NABEG 2.0 (Network Expansion Acceleration Act). Within the framework of the new four-year project supported by the BMWi, the current test and demonstration requirements in the industry are to be determined first. In addition to the need for the development of innovative and powerful WTGs, the need for test facilities for innovative foundation structures, components, logistics concepts and grid connection technologies also plays a decisive role. The next step is to define the selection criteria for the innovative technologies to be installed.
The two energy research projects MIGRATE and PROMOTioN, funded within the framework of the EU research programme HORIZON 2020, are holding their first joint workshop today in Berlin under the title "Technical challenges and recommendations for the future European power grid".
In particular, the technical challenges of operating a future energy system with substantially lower system inertia than today will be discussed with representatives from politics, industry and academia. In a power system that will increasingly be based on renewable energy sources, issues relating to reduced system inertia and reduced short-circuit power have an impact on the existing AC grids stability and on the protection of future offshore HVDC transmission networks.
Finding a solution to these issues is decisive for the successful implementation of the energy system transformation and safeguarding Europe’s competitive industrial edge.
The workshop therefore discusses criteria regarding future system requirements for grid stability. Technological developments regarding protection and control systems as well as regulatory issues are focused on. Possible opportunities to enable the increasing share of offshore wind energy to play a role in securing the grid stability will also be pointed out.
The project MIGRATE aims to develop technical solutions to the increasing grid integration of power electronics interfaces renewable energy sources. The aim is to analyse innovations for the implementation of the energy system transformation in the electricity grid and thus for Europe's security of supply.
The PROMOTioN project addresses the development of meshed HVDC offshore transmission networks on the basis of cost-effective and reliable technological innovation in combination with a sound political, financial and regulatory framework.
Europe installed 2.6 GW of new offshore wind energy capacity in 2018, according to statistics released today by WindEurope. That’s an 18% increase in Europe’s offshore wind capacity. 15 new offshore wind farms came on line. The UK and Germany accounted for 85% of the new capacity: 1.3 GW and 969 MW respectively. Europe now has 105 offshore wind farms across 11 countries with a total capacity of 18.5 GW. This is around 10% of the total installed wind energy capacity in Europe – the rest is onshore. The size and scale of offshore wind continues to rise. The average size of the new turbines installed last year was 6.8 MW, 15% up on 2017. The UK installed the world’s biggest offshore turbines – 8.8 MW – and opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm – Walney 3 extension, 657 MW. Belgium and Germany also opened their largest wind farms to date. A further six offshore wind farms are currently under construction in Europe, including the world’s first +1 GW offshore wind farm – Hornsea 1 in the UK.
Expansion of offshore wind energy successfully continued in 2018 - industry sector calls for rapid increase of expansion targets
- Total of 1,305 turbines with 6,382 MW connected to the grid | 136 turbines with almost 1 GW new in the grid | 966 MW under construction
- Offshore wind power generation rises again significantly by around eight percent
- Special tender of at least 1,500 MW required in the first quarter of 2019
- Expansion volume has to be legally determined to at least 20 GW by 2030
Berlin, 21 January 2019 - Today in Berlin, the most important industry associations presented the current figures for offshore wind energy in Germany for the year 2018. Their core message is: "2019 must be the year of progress in energy policy. Offshore wind energy is of central importance for the achievement of climate protection targets and secures value creation in Germany as an industrial player". They added: "Power production from offshore wind increased by around eight percent in 2018 while costs declined, thus contributing to a stable, low-cost and clean electricity supply. With this balance and the correct and urgently needed initiative by Minister Altmaier to expand the grid, the preconditions are met for a faster expansion", said the industry representatives of BWE, BWO, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, VDMA Power Systems and WAB.
Expansion according to plan - sector with positive balance
According to the latest figures published by Deutsche WindGuard, 1,305 offshore wind turbines with a total output of 6,382 MW (megawatts) fed into the grid in 2018. In this period, 136 new turbines with an output of 969 MW were connected to the grid. This confirms the forecast made last year by the industry associations. In addition, 276 MW were fully installed but have not yet fed into the grid. Furthermore, a capacity of 966 MW is currently under construction. The final investment decision has been made for another 112 MW. The legally permitted expansion of 7.7 GW (gigawatts) by 2020 will therefore probably be achieved as planned.
Raise expansion targets to at least 20 GW by 2030
The current political conditions are slowing down the further positive development of offshore wind energy in Germany. According to the coalition agreement, 65 percent of German power production is to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030, which, however, cannot be achieved with the currently planned expansion. This was also emphasised by the call of industry and federal states to federal policy, recently at WindEnergy in Hamburg, whose statement was again underlined at today's press conference: "In order to contribute to achieving the goals of the coalition agreement, the offshore wind industry needs to expand to at least 20 GW by 2030 and at least 30 GW by 2035. The Energy Policy Agenda 2019 offers the opportunity to make forward-looking decisions this year and to complete the missing statements on offshore wind in the Omnibus Energy Act," said the industry representatives.
Combining climate policy progress with impulses in industrial policy
According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the offshore wind industry has invested more than 15 billion euros since 2013. The industry now needs a reliable framework and a clear political signal. To achieve this, the higher expansion volume must be put in place as quickly as possible and the planning prerequisites must be created. Insisting on the status quo costs jobs and threatens the international competitiveness of Germany as an industrial location. The current migration of qualified workers to foreign markets is a warning signal that must be taken seriously. For Germany as an industrial location, the know-how in offshore wind energy acquired over many years is an essential advantage in the growing international competition that must be maintained.
Outlook: Special contribution offshore wind in the first quarter of 2019
The associations criticized that the Omnibus Energy Act passed in December 2018 does not contain a special contribution for offshore wind energy as originally planned in the coalition agreement. The parties SPD and CDU/CSU have indeed commissioned the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency to prepare a scenario framework for offshore wind farms in the 15 to 20 GW range. However, the concrete policy measures that derive from this are completely unclear. The opportunity to launch the special contribution provided for in the coalition agreement in the first quarter of 2019 by awarding at least 1,500 MW to use the converter capacities still available should now be seized. There is also an urgent need for action regarding the test field for offshore wind energy. "There must be no further delay," said the industry representatives.
Continue to advance grid expansion, grid optimization and sector coupling
In addition to the expansion of renewable energies, the success of energy transition in Germany depends to a large extent on grid expansion and progress in sector coupling. The Federal Government should therefore give priority to the expansion of the large transmission grids, as provided for in its Action Plan Power Grids, and quickly anchor the numerous proposals for grid optimisation in law. In addition, regulatory hurdles for the further coupling of sectors should be removed swiftly.
Another milestone reached in the PROMOTioN (Progress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks) project. ABB has successfully completed the installation of the 320 kV HVDC gas insulated switchgear (GIS) test equipment in the DNV GL’s KEMA High Voltage DC Laboratory in Kleefse Waard, Arnhem, Netherlands.
Later this year long term testing will commence to demonstrate that this technology is ready for real world application and achieve cost savings in future offshore HVDC converter stations and switchyards.
The benefit of using this technology over the conventional air insulated technology is the 90% reduction in volume, realizing cost-savings in applications where space comes at a premium such as offshore or in urban environments. This is the first time that such equipment is tested in an independent commercial laboratory.
Also as part of PROMOTioN, Super Grid Institute (France) investigates the performance of different environmentally friendly insulating gases, and the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands) is developing a monitoring and diagnostics system for this technology.
The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has announced that in future it will no longer be necessary to periodically renew the yellow full-surface paint covering the substructures of offshore wind turbines. The agency considers the requirements for the initial coating to be sufficient to comply with international recommendations and standards. The markings are intended to increase maritime safety. Generally, all offshore installations had until now been required to undergo inspections for damage to the paint coat and compliance with colorimetric requirements in accordance with the specifications of the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping (GDWS). Non-compliance with these specifications would result in mandatory repainting of the substructures concerned.
In the BMWi funded project "Implementation initiative of cost reduction potentials in offshore wind energy (UKOW)", German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation – in cooperation with industrial partners – investigated expected costs, prepared risk analyses and conducted comparative international studies. The anticipated costs for required repainting of existing offshore wind turbines in Germany were estimated at up to 400 million euros.
In addition, the foundation had the benefits of the yellow paint cover for marine traffic investigated by a DNV GL study. This study demonstrated that marking the foundations with yellow paint has a clear signalling effect only at close range, with reduced visibilities below 1,000 m and only for non-commercial vessels. Since such visibilities are relatively rare and experience shows that these boats generally do not reach the remote offshore wind farms under such conditions, the need for the signalling effect achieved by the yellow paint, and thus the proportionality of the regulation, was generally called into question in the framework of the project.
Furthermore, discussions were held with the relevant ministries, authorities, research institutions and the affected industry stakeholders and associations.
Andreas Wagner, Managing Director of the OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE Foundation commented: “We are pleased that the regulatory agencies have endorsed our findings and recommendations. This practice-informed revision of the regulations will also contribute to further cost reductions in the offshore wind energy sector.”
Wager points out that “the project has demonstrated that periodic painting would generate additional costs for the operating companies and that the proportionality with respect to increased ship safety is questionable.”
• Five new offshore wind farms with a capacity of 1,944 MW are under construction in the first half of the year 2018
• Rapid implementation of additional tenders with at least 1.5 GW offshore wind capacity is required
• Expansion of volume to at least 20 GW by 2030 urgently needed to achieve government goals
• Advancing grid expansion, better use of existing grid and accelerating sector coupling and electrification
Berlin, 19 July 2018 -The German government has set the goal of covering 65 percent of the country’s power generation from renewable energies by 2030. From an offshore wind industry perspective, the German government is doing too little to achieve this goal. No concrete steps have been taken since the formation of government in March 2018. As stipulated in the coalition agreement, additional ten-ders for offshore wind energy and an increase in the offshore expansion paths are needed as soon as possible, alongside a rapid increase of the expansion paths for all renewables. The 65 percent target must be credibly supported by a quantity structure for the expansion. "The standstill in energy policy of the recent months must be stopped. We call on the Federal Government to decide on the special con-tribution for offshore wind energy immediately after the summer break. Otherwise, the self-defined climate targets cannot be achieved," explained the industry representatives. "The industry also agrees with the transmission system operators on this point."
The offshore industry is performing
The expansion of offshore wind energy is currently proceeding according to plan until 2020. At the end of the first half of the year 2018, a total of 1,169 turbines with an output capacity of 5,387 MW are feeding into the grid. Five projects with an output capacity of 1,944 MW are under construction. Of these, offshore wind turbines with an output of up to 1,000 MW are expected to be connected to the grid by the end of the year.
The share of offshore wind energy in total power generation increased from 2.7 to 2.9 percent (9.4 billion kWh - BDEW figures). The share of all renewable energies in power generation was ahead of lignite and hard coal for the first time in the first half year of 2018.
Increased expansion targets and additional tenders are indispensable to achieve the climate targets
From the industry's perspective, the German government must act now if it takes the 65 percent target seriously. This is also in line with recent decisions at European level that renewable energies should account for 32 percent of the EU's total energy consumption by 2030. To this end, the expansion targets must be raised across all renewable technologies. An expansion of at least 20 GW is required for offshore wind energy in Germany by 2030. At least 30 GW of offshore capacity must be installed by 2035. The existing expansion target of 15 GW by 2030 does not meet the Federal Government's new targets.
The additional calls for tenders for renewable energies decided in the coalition agreement and originally planned before the summer must also be implemented. In the case of offshore wind energy, the course should be set quickly to introduce additional tenders in 2019 and 2020. This should include a total volume of at least 1.5 GW in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. These should be feasible through the use of free grid connection capacities.
In addition, a higher expansion volume in the offshore wind industry is of great importance for employment security and value creation in Germany. Manufacturers, suppliers, operators and investors need a clear industrial policy perspective and investment security. Currently, more than 27,000 employees are working in the industry – their companies need investment security as soon as possible. "Oth-erwise, further investments and jobs in the wind energy sector will be endangered, as a recent industry survey conducted by IG Metall Küste shows," said the industry representatives. A sustainably stable domestic market is the prerequisite for the increasing export activities of the offshore wind industry.
Further progress in network expansion and optimisation as well as sector coupling
In addition to the expansion of renewable energies, the success of the energy transition in Germany depends largely on grid expansion and progress in sector coupling. The Federal Government should therefore give priority to the expansion of the large transmission grids and embody the many existing proposals for grid optimisation in law. For example, recent studies by the German Energy Agency dena and AGORA Energiewende have shown that a faster expansion of renewable energies is effectively possible through technical optimisation of the grid. Furthermore, regulatory hurdles for further cou-pling of the sectors should be removed as soon as possible. This includes the possibility of making elec-tricity from offshore wind energy directly applicable for the various Power-to-X applications.
On June 6, 2018, the midterm conference of PROMOTioN took place in Amsterdam. With over 150 participants, the conference was very well attended, not only by the project partners but also by numerous representatives of transmission system operators, offshore wind turbine manufacturers, politicians and state agencies, operators and developers of offshore wind farms, associations, academia, as well as (technical) service providers and consultancies.
Major regulatory hurdles - incentive system for investors needed
In the opening panel discussion, Giles Dickson, CEO of the European wind energy association WindEurope highlighted the considerable regulatory hurdles still impeding the development of meshed offshore grids today. Above all, investors would need incentives to prepare future wind farms and the associated infrastructure for meshed offshore grids. Christopher Jones, Advisor to the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy, underlined the importance of PROMOTioN as the largest non-nuclear EU research project. He regarded the establishment of a cross-border offshore grid as a " hundred-billion-euro opportunity through 2050" - provided the currently existing technological and regulatory risks are overcome. Diederik Peereboom, Secretary General of T&D Europe, identified meshed offshore grids as providing a "unique opportunity to feed large quantities of offshore wind power into the existing onshore grid" and praised PROMOTioN as a means for manufacturers to demonstrate the necessary technologies. Ben Voorhorst, President of the European Network of Transmission System Operators ENTSO-E, illustrated the advantages of a meshed offshore grid by comparing it to the existing onshore grid. New legal provisions and security mechanisms were required in order to, step by step, create a highly interconnected cross-border HVDC grid.
Discussions on the financing of a meshed grid
Following the panel discussion, the conference proceedings were divided into two parallel workshops. Here, the project partners presented the interim results of the project regarding technical and regulatory issues. The initial part of the technical workshop dealt with the first research results on a number of aspects relevant to meshed offshore HVDC grids. The project partners from the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Scotland focused particularly on converter technology and grid topologies. This was followed by a discussion of suitable protection systems for meshed HVDC grids, how communication between HVDC converters and wind turbines needed to be advanced and what role HVDC circuit breakers play for the overall system. Concurrently, the project partners responsible for "Regulation and Financing", from the University of Groningen, DNV GL, Florence School of Regulation and Deutsche WindGuard, described their preliminary findings on the legal, economic and financial challenges relating to a meshed HVDC offshore grid. First, proposals for the legal classification and general regulation of meshed offshore grids were discussed. Furthermore, a cost-benefit analysis methodology (CBA) which enables the comparison of different offshore grid topologies was presented. In addition, project results addressing the economic framework were reported, e.g. questions concerning the division of costs in multilateral, cross-border projects and the financing of offshore grids.
Presentation of current research on HVDC technology
The further technical presentations primarily focused on demonstrations in the field of HVDC technology either already completed or still planned for the project. After a basic overview of the topic, the present findings on HVDC circuit breakers, HVDC system protection and control mechanisms were reported. Finally, the intersections and interactions between the two EU projects "Best Paths" and PROMOTioN were outlined. Best Paths is a major research and development project funded by the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, which expires at the end of 2018. It focuses on the development of novel grid technologies on land and at sea.
PROMOTioN in the European context
The parallel workshop addressed the political and regulatory context of PROMOTioN. The perspective of the European Commission and the Support Group 2 (SG2), which deals with the issue of offshore grids as part of the North Seas Energy Cooperation, was of prime importance in this context. The chairwoman of SG2, Sue Harrisson from the British Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and Nicole Versijp and Henriette Niesheim from the European Commission, explained the synergies between PROMOTioN and the activities of SG2
Deployment Plan through 2050
Closing the conference, Michiel de Schepper from Dutch transmission system operator TenneT described the current status of the final development plan for a meshed offshore grid up to the year 2050, which, as part of a "roadmap", will represent the final output at the end of the PROMOTioN project. The conference concluded with a summary of the various issues addressed in the workshops and an outlook on upcoming project results and events. The Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, in charge of project communication, was, as one of its responsibilities, tasked with organizing the conference.
The new video "PROMOTioN in a nutshell" visualizes the work of the EU-funded research project PROMOTioN, which the FOUNDATION OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY is involved with. Within this project 33 partners from 11 countries analyze the positive effects of the development of a common offshore power grid infrastructure, in particular on the basis of meshed high-voltage direct-current transmission technology (HVDC).