Brent Spar wind plant plans


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A future in offshore wind energy generation has been proposed for the redundant Brent Spar oil installation -- now languishing in a Norwegian fjord -- by two separate companies. First, Thyssen Stahlunion, heading a German and Norwegian consortium, is proposing to convert the offshore oil storage structure to a saltwater desalination plant powered by wind turbines. Second, the Dutch consortium Hollandia and Volker Stevin Offshore has suggested turning the whole structure into a floating renewable power station off the west of Scotland. Its proposal combines three wind turbines and several wave powered generators into a 19 MW power plant. The two proposals are among 30 published by Shell UK Exploration and Production which were submitted to the company by 19 companies and consortia. The Brent Spar became notorious last year when public outcry, whipped up by Greenpeace, stopped Shell from dumping the structure at sea. The company has since invited proposals from around the world on how to dispose of the 137 metre long structure weighing some 14,500 tonnes. Most proposals suggest dismantling it on shore, but suggestions for a floating casino and a luxury hotel have also been mooted alongside the two for renewable power generation. Shell is not expected to make a decision until mid 1997. It will first reduce the number of proposals to six before requesting UK government approval for its final choice.

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