The pioneering floating wind power array being developed by Norway’s Statoil in the UK North Sea will also pilot the use of a potentially game-changing battery storage system, after a deal was signed by the offshore energy giant with the Scottish government, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Scottish Enterprise.
"We’re keen to explore broader concepts such as energy storage to make decentralised offshore wind viable in the future – bringing the cost down and make it more competitive,” Stephen Bull, Statoil’s senior vice president for offshore wind, tellsRecharge.
“Inside the company we feel [battery storage technology] is part of a skills set we just must have. Hywind Scotland was identified as the best place to start this process. This is not a one-off. It is something to build on, to capture the knowledge for future full-scale wind farm developments.”
Bull points to the possibility of using an upscaled Batwind system, designed for installation both offshore and on, as part of the developer’s 402MW Dudgeon wind farm or 7.2GW Dogger Bank zone.
For Buchan Deep, the Li-ion technology – which won out of a range of others including compressed air storage and hydrogen cells – will be bolted on to the substation at Peterhead, to keep costs at a minimum.
“Through the Batwind concept, we can optimise the energy system from wind park to grid, applying advanced data analytics,” says Bull. “Battery storage represents a new application in our offshore wind portfolio, contributing to realising our ambition of profitable growth in this area.”
A programme is now being set-up to fund innovation in battery storage by Statoil and Scottish industry and academia, and will be managed by Catapult and Scottish Enterprise.
“We are developing a programme that will match Scottish supply chain capabilities and research excellence with the technology challenges of developing innovative battery storage solutions, ensuring Scotland and the wider UK benefits from the economic opportunities presented by this internationally important project,” says Catapult chief executive Andrew Jamieson.
Cian Conroy, Catapult’s business development director, adds: “The offshore wind industry is quite risk-averse and so demonstration projects [such as Batwind] are a key enabler – both crucial to proving the viability and advancing the technology and also pushing ahead the policy agenda that is needed to support wider-scale use of technologies that will make a measurable difference to the offshore wind’s cost of energy.”
According to Bull, the supplier of the Li-ion battery for the Buchan Deep project will be selected in “early 2018”, with the unit installed later the same year.
“This is more than just hardware we are developing [through the Batwind project],” emphasises Bull. “It is about the knowledge base – pulling together the algorithms for the array’s control system, running the numbers, doing the big data. This is where the real value in the project lies.
“It is a small project but we believe something big will come out of it.”
Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing states: “The signing of this memorandum of understanding will allow the signatories to work together in the development of the Batwind battery storage solution. This will help maximise the renewable generation of the Hywind offshore wind farm, whilst informing the case for energy storage and demonstrating the technology’s ability to support renewables in Scotland and internationally.”
The Hywind floating wind turbine concept is based on long-used offshore technology — the spar, which has enjoyed a long history in giant form as floating foundations for deepwater oil production platforms since the mid-1990s.
Hywind 1, the prototype topped out with a 2.3MW Siemens turbine, has performed superbly since switch on in 2009, weathering winds of 40 metres per second (m/s) and winter waves 15 metres high — and churning out electricty at an average capacity of over 50%.
The second-generation Hywind 2 is an evolutionary advancement of the flagship unit, most of all because the hull's length has been trimmed to a more compact, lighter, "site optimised" design that stretches 76 metres below the surface — compared to the 100-metre draft of the prototype — which should open up a wider offshore market for the deepwater concept.
In June the Scottish government released a far-reaching study on floating wind power that points to its fast approaching commercialisation. Produced by government-industry body the UK Carbon Trust, the report found that floating wind concepts have the potential to cut generated levelised cost of energy (LCoE) to below £100/MWh in utility-scale deployments, with Hywind calculated to be on track to reach an LCoE of £85-£95MWh.
Make Consulting estimates some 3.4GW of floating wind power will be switched on by 2030, led by markets in Japan and France.
See a Statoil video on the Buchan Deep project here.
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