Offshore wind developers Ørsted and Equinor and certification body DNV have joined the AquaVentus Green Hydrogen Initiative, taking its membership to 50 companies, organisations and research institutions.
The initiative aims to install electrolysers powered by 10GW of offshore wind energy in the North Sea by 2035.
The vision is for one million tonnes of green hydrogen generated on the seas annually to be brought to shore via a pipeline.
Existing members are involved in offshore wind development and operation, risk management, maritime services, pipe and steel construction and artificial intelligence.
They include the Fraunhofer research institute and wind energy companies E.on, EnBW Vestas, RWE and Siemens Gamesa.
Equinor collected around $1.4 billion in divestment payments of stakes in offshore wind capacity in the first quarter of 2021.
It received the windfall following completion of deals to sell a 50% non-operated interest in Empire Wind and Beacon Wind in the US to BP and a 10% equity interest in Dogger Bank A and B in the UK to Eni.
The Norwegian company reported pre-tax adjusted earnings in its renewables division to $1.3 billion – a 100-fold increase from one year earlier, when there were no comparable transactions.
Its renewables earnings contributed to full-company adjusted earnings increasing fivefold to $2.6 billion.
Vestas has signed a €2 billion multi-currency credit facility with a group of leading banks.
The facility’s margin will be closely indexed to Vestas’ sustainability key performance indicators – including its ability to reduce its own carbon footprint across its supply chain and enhance workplace safety.
It will be used to drive deployment of, and advance, new technology, and support efforts to increase sustainability, Vestas stated.
The facility replaces the turbine manufacturer’s undrawn €1.15 billion revolving credit facility signed in 2017.
Vattenfall recorded decreases in net sales and underlying operating profit in the first quarter of 2021 due to lower availability of offshore wind.
The Swedish developer explained that lower wind speeds and more maintenance work reduced the availability of its offshore wind fleet.
However, these impacts were partially offset by higher electricity prices and the sale of the Swedish onshore wind farm Gronhult to The Renewable Infrastructure Group.
It recorded an 18% decrease in underlying Ebit to SEK 1.7 billion (€174 million) and 11% slide in net sales to SEK 4.2 billion in the first three months of the year.
Mainstream Renewable Power is working with the Vietnamese government to increase regional government engagement in offshore wind development after the country proposed new capacity targets for 2030.
The Irish developer signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work with Vietnam’s department of foreign affairs for provinces to hold an event in the second half of 2021.
The Irish company is currently developing two offshore wind farms off Vietnam: the 1.4GW Phu Cuong Soc Trang and 500MW Ben Tre projects, which are expected online by 2026.
The signing of the MoU follows Vietnam proposing targets of 5GW of offshore wind and a further 13-14GW of onshore wind by 2030 in a draft version of its power development plan.
The combined 18-19GW operational wind capacity envisioned by the end of the decade, is a large increase from the 6GW in Vietnam’s existing power development plan.
Enercon has upgraded a prototype unit of its E-160 EP 5 E1 model with a new converter and rotor hub.
It did not change the foundation, tower, nacelle and rotor diameter of the prototype at a test site in Wieringermeer in the Netherlands.
An Enercon spokesman explained that this conversion of the existing E1 prototype was the fastest way to start real-life testing of the E2 version.
The upgraded E-160 EP5 E2 has a nominal output of 5.5MW in wind speeds of 7.5m/s at hub height.
Enercon expects it will have an annual electricity production 9% higher than the E-160 EP5 E1.
RWE Renewables and GE Renewable Energy plan to repower the 215MW Panther Creek III onshore wind farm in Texas, increasing its expected production by 25-30%, extending its lifetime and boosting its reliability.
They will replace key turbine components, including refitting turbines with longer blades and upgrading existing gearboxes.
Blades removed during repowering will be recycled to produce a raw material for cement, through GE’s partnership with Veolia.
Repowering is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2021.
Panther Creek III was initially commissioned in 2009 with 133 GE turbines with individual power ratings of 1.5MW. RWE boosted the power ratings of turbines through an enhanced software program several years ago, bringing the project’s total capacity to 215MW.
Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft has outlined plans to build the up-to 36MW Oedelsheim wind farm in northern Hesse’s Wesertal valley, its first in Germany.
Six 6MW turbines will be installed on damaged and tree-free areas, to reduce the project’s environmental impact. Statkraft will also implement a reforestation plan. Commissioning is planned for 2025.
Local residents will be consulted and can participate financially with a citizen wind turbine and an additional subordinated loan. Municipalities will receive €2/NWh, the maximum permitted under Germany’s energy law since January 2021, estimated to add up to €160,000 a year.
Wind resource measurements started in April, after Statkraft was granted a concession to use a 670m2 area in Bramwald. The results of a fauna impact survey are due later this year.
Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga has announced the country will aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46% from 2013 levels by 2030.
He announced this new target – an increase of 20 percentage points from a previous goal – during a virtual meeting of 40 world leaders convened to discuss climate change.
The country aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 – a goal that could need as much as 130GW of wind power capacity to achieve, according to the Japanese Wind Power Association.
Japan currently has just over 4.4GW of operational wind power capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.
Stockholm-based developer OX2 has agreed to buy the rights for an under-development 170MW wind farm in its native Sweden.
It will buy the rights to the Hälsingeskogen wind farm in Gävleborg County, Sweden from packaging and biomaterials company Stora Enso.
The wind farm will include 37 wind turbines and have a total potential capacity of 170MW. The developer has not decided on a turbine model yet.
It expects to complete the transaction in 2022.
OX2 has stakes in about 1.5GW of operational onshore wind power capacity and in a further 1.3GW at various stages of development – mostly in the Nordic region – according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.
It has previously helped to develop and construct more than 2.4GW of wind capacity in Europe.
Thyssenkrupp has signed an engineering and procurement contract with agricultural fertiliser producer CF Industries for what it claims will be the US’ largest green ammonia project.
The German engineering firm will supply a 20MW electrolysis plant for CF Industries’ plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Its modular design will enable additional units to be added in the future.
Construction is due to start in the second half of 2021 and finish in 2023.
CF Industries plans to allocate enough renewable energy purchased across its network to match 100% of the electricity needed by the electrolyser, it stated.
Renewable energy sources accounted for 22% of the company’s total electricity consumption last year. CF Industries told Windpower monthly. It could not say how much was from wind power.
Mining company MIBRAG is planning a 102MW wind farm at the United Schleenhain opencast coal mine between the councils of Groitzsch and Neukieritzsch, Leipzig district. The location has been designated as a priority area for wind power generation.
The Breunsdorf project is “an important milestone” for the company on its transition to renewable energy generation, including hydrogen production, it stated. MIBRAG currently supplies coal to thermal power plants.
Subject to receiving the necessary regulatory approvals, the 17-turbine project will start construction in 2023. It will use 6MW turbines and cost an estimated €100 million. Commercial operation is expected in 2024.
DTE Energy has begun operation of three new wind farms in Michigan with a combined capacity of 455MW.
Isabella I and Isabella II consist of 136 of GE’s 2.82-127 turbines and Fairbanks Wind features 21 units of Siemens Gamesa’s SG 3.4-132 model.
The projects will supply power to the Ford Motor Company, General Motors and the University of Michigan.
The UK’s plans to reduce emissions by 78% from 1990 levels by 2035 will mean ramping up renewables, according to industry body RenewableUK.
The government aims to pass the new emissions reduction target – taking it more than three-quarters of the way to its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 – before the end of June 2021.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn called for more renewable energy deployment, for more investment in permitting bodies to enable projects to be consented in a more timely manner and upgrades to the electricity grid.
She also called for the government to set a target to decarbonise the electricity sector by 100% by 2035, and added: “This means setting ambitious deployment targets for onshore wind as well as offshore, alongside innovative technologies like floating wind, wave and tidal energy and renewable hydrogen, as every tool in the box has a vital role to play.”
Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are set to rebound in 2021, reversing most of last year’s decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The IEA expects a near-5% increase from 2020 – the second largest annual growth in history. The largest was the rise in 2010 during the carbon-intensive economic recovery from the global financial crisis.
Rising coal demand – mostly from Asia, led by China – will be the key driver of the increase in carbon emissions, according to the IEA’s analysis.
The increase in demand for coal will dwarf that of renewables by 60%, the agency added.
It anticipates electricity generation from renewables will rise by more than 8% in 2021, with most of the increase coming from wind and solar PV.
French transmission system operator Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE) has awarded Deme subsidiary SDI and JDR Cables and the contract to connect the Leucate floating offshore wind farm to the grid.
SDI and JDR will provide a submarine cable and onshore cable section to connect the wind farm to an onshore substation near Le Barcarès in the south of France.
The 30MW wind farm is currently being developed by a consortium of offshore wind developer Ocean Winds and French bank Caisse de Dépôts.
It will consist of three of Vestas’ V164-10MW turbines deployed on Principle Power’s semi-submersible WindFloat platform in the French Mediterranean Sea.
Construction and commissioning are planned for 2022.
Amazon has announced deals to buy output from nine new utility-scale wind and solar projects in the US, Canada, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
It claims the latest batch of contracts – for a combined capacity of around 1.5GW – will make it the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world.
The tech giant will buy power from three wind farms with a combined capacity of 716MW, including a 350MW offshore wind farm in Scotland and two onshore wind farms: a 118MW project in Oklahoma, US, and a 258MW project in Sweden.
These projects will supply renewable energy to Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, Whole Foods Market stores, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres.
NextEra Energy Partners has agreed to buy four operational US onshore wind farms with a combined capacity of 391MW from Brookfield Renewable.
It expects to buy the portfolio for $733 million, subject to closing adjustments. NextEra has not given a timeline for closing the deal.
The portfolio consists of three projects in California and one in New Hampshire.
Nearly all of the portfolio is contracted with investment-grade counterparties and a cash available for distribution-weighted remaining contract life of approximately 13 years at the time of closing, NextEra added.
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has reached final close on its global greenfield renewable energy fund CI IV at the €7 billion hard cap.
The fund will finance onshore and offshore wind, solar PV, transmission, storage and waste-to-energy projects worldwide.
It received commitments from investors across the Nordics, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
CIP has already committed about one-third of the fund, and expects to commit the remainder in the next two-to-three years.
Grid operator PJM has opened a 120-day solicitation window on behalf of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) for developers to submit ready-to-build transmission options to deliver offshore wind energy to the power grid.
Specifically, the solicitation is looking for grid upgrades and extensions, optimal landfall approaches, and interconnections between offshore substations. The solicitation window closes on 13 August, 2021
The solicitation incorporates the state’s offshore wind goals into PJM’s transmission planning process through a novel pathway known as the State Agreement Approach, which aims to achieve such goals “in an economically efficient, environmentally sensitive, and timely manner”.
New Jersey aims to have 7.5GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.
Principle Power CEO João Metelo is due to leave the floating offshore wind pioneers “in the near term”, the company announced.
The US firm is looking for his replacement.
During Metelo’s seven years at Principle Power the company went from having its first WindFloat prototype to more than 100MW of operational units worldwide.
Neither Principle Power or Metelo has confirmed his next role.
Siemens Gamesa has secured a deal to supply turbines for one of the largest wind farms in Peru.
It is due to supply Engie subsidiary Engie Energia Peru with 50 SG 5.0-145 onshore machines for the 260MW Punta Lomitas wind farm in the southern region of Ica. The turbines will operate at between 5MW and 5.2MW.
The turbines are due to be delivered between November 2021 and May 2022, ahead of project commissioning in the first quarter of 2023.
Siemens Gamesa will also service the project for 25 years.
Peru aims for 1.2GW by 2030. It currently has 450MW online, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.
Siemens Gamesa has supplied 164MW of the operational capacity in the country.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Azerbaijan’s energy ministry have agreed to work together to kickstart development of offshore wind in the Caspian Sea.
They signed a memorandum of understanding to reduce Azerbaijan’s reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation and facilitate private-sector participation in the power sector.
The IFC – a sister organisation of the World Bank – and Azerbaijan’s energy ministry would create a roadmap for developing the country’s offshore wind sector.
They would continue to work together as the ministry implements this roadmap and build sustainable public-private partnership in the sector, the organisations stated.
By transitioning from oil and gas to renewable energy, Azerbaijan could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vulnerability to volatile fuel prices, the IFC added.
Offshore contractors Deme Offshore and Penta-Ocean Construction have agreed to form a joint venture (JV) to build offshore wind farms in Japan.
Belgian firm Deme Offshore is due to hold 49% of shares in the JV, while Penta-Ocean will hold the 51% majority.
The partners noted that while Japan has favourable wind conditions, it also has challenging subsoils, which can be a mixture of sand and rocks.
Japan aims to have 10GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and 30-45GW by 2040.
It is yet to announce results for three offshore wind tenders held last year, and is expected to hold another round in 2021.
Taiwan’s ministry of economic affairs has approved the local content plan for the 300MW Hai Long 2A project, clearing the way for construction to begin.
Candian renewables company Northland Power (60% owner) and Taiwanese counterpart Yushan Energy (40%) are developing the 300MW project as part of a 1GW-plus cluster off Taiwan’s west coast.
The project is due online in 2024.
Siemens Gamesa is due to supply its SG 14-222 DD turbines for Hai Long 2A. It will use its nacelle assembly factory in Taichung harbour.
CSBC-Deme Wind Engineering will be responsible for engineering, procurement, fabrication and installation of the project’s foundations, and inter-array and export cables, as well as transportation and installation of the substations and wind turbines.
Ørsted has now completed the divestment of 25% of its Ocean Wind project to New Jersey utility Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG).
The Danish developer had bought the entire offshore wind farm as part of its acquisition of Deepwater WInd in 2018, and secured the rights to build it the following year.
It agreed to sell 25% of the project to PSEG in December 2020.
Ocean Wind will feature GE’s 12MW Haliade-X turbines and could provide first power in late 2024, subject to federal permitting timelines.
German researchers are investigating how climatic changes in wind can impact wind farm yields.
Yield assessments for new wind farms are usually based on historical wind data as well as measurement data that is extrapolated into the future during the planning process
However, climate change means that historical data might be less applicable in the future, Fraunhofer IWES explained.
Fraunhofer IWES and the German Climate Service Centre (Gerics) will investigate this and expect to be able to make specific recommendations for the future determination of yield assessments.
The German energy ministry is financing the research project with €1.16 million through to 2024.
The submarine NordLink cable that carries wind and hydropower between Germany and Norway is now fully operational.
The high-voltage direct current transmission system carries output from German wind farms and Norwegian hydropower plants, operators Tennet, Statnett and KfW explained.
Its 623km-long, 525kV cables can transmit 1.4GW of output.
KfW board member Markus Scheer explained: "By connecting the Norwegian and German energy markets, we can achieve security of supply and stable energy prices at the same time increase the share of renewable energies in the energy mix.”
Construction work began in 2016, ahead of a first trial run in December 2020.
Norwegian transmission system operator (TSO) Statnett and joint venture DC Nordseekabel each own 50% of the NordLink project. Nordseekabel is jointly owned by Dutch TSO Tennet and German development bank KfW.
European Energy has issued €75 million in a tap of its green hybrid bond in a quick intraday execution with strong demand across the Nordics.
The bond issue will be consolidated with former bonds issued in September 2020, bringing the total issue size to €150 million.
CEO Knud Erik Andersen said the tap issue – which allows borrowers to sell bonds from past issues – would help the developer accelerate project construction.
European Energy has already started construction of more than 1GW of renewable energy in 2021 and expects to connect 750WM to the grid this calendar year.
Nordex has secured an order to repower a community-owned wind farm in northern Germany.
It will replace 20 existing 2MW wind turbines at Dirkshof’s Reußenköge wind farm in Schleswig-Holstein with 20 N117/3600 turbines.
Nordex will also service the wind farm for five years, but Dirkshof has the option to extend the term by five years three times.
Installation will start in 2021, with commissioning due in 2022.
Nordex has received an order to supply 39 of its N133/4800 turbines to the second 187MW phase of Caba Grup’s Istanbul wind farm in Turkey.
It will also service the turbines for 15 years.
Turbine delivery and construction are due to start in late summer 2021.
The German manufacturer is also supplying five units of the same model for the first 24MW phase of the project, which is currently under construction.
A contractor has begun surveying the Celtic Sea for a floating offshore wind farm being developed by Total and Simply Blue Energy.
GEOxyz has started a geophysical survey for the developers’ 96MW Erebus floating offshore wind farm off the coast of South Pembrokeshire.
The survey is due to last until mid-June.
Neoen has reached financial close on its 404MW Mutkalampi wind farm in Finland.
The project will be financed by Neoen’s own capital, and funding from German institutional asset manager MEAG and Swedish bank SEB.
Vestas will supply 69 turbines with varying power ratings for the project, which is due to be fully online in Q3 2023.
Most of the output from the project will supply Google, Heineken, Nobian, Philips and Signify through five ten-year corporate power purchase agreements.
BlackRock Real Assets has closed a $4.8 billion fund to invest in renewable energy assets in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
It received commitments from more than 100 institutional investors for its Global Renewable Power Fund III.
The investment manager has already used the fund to invest in onshore wind in Europe.
It also plans to support energy storage, distribution and electrified transport.