Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Floating wind turbine - -near to installation

Some while ago, I remember being rather dismissive of a floating wind turbine concept being proposed for the Minch. StatoilHydro has been approaching the problem with a rather more elegant approach, and is now close to installing the prototype 2.3 MW Hywind turbine offshore Norway. Details here.

The turbine is going into a water depth of 220 m, so the water depth is roughly twice the hub height. This may well be a solution to Norway's offshore wind needs, as the country isn't blessed with much shallow water shelf, but I'm struggling to think of suitable locations on the UKCS.

We haven't been able to find any cost information for the project though - it would be interesting to see how it stacks up against "conventional" offshore wind.

Whatever happens, we'll keep an interested eye on how the 2 year testing programme evolves.

Monday, June 08, 2009

42 bids!

The Crown Estate has announced that it has received 42 bids from 20 organisations for Pentland Firth leases.  Apparently lease applications for sites from 10 MW to 300 MW have been received, across a range of technologies and technology types (wave and tidal), and from small developers all the way up to large multi-national energy companies (I wonder if they mean oil companies, utilities or both?)

It seems to us that there is some risk here that bidders may be tempted to "land-bank", tying up sites without serious near-term development plans.  I hope the Crown Estate is sensible enough to try to make sure that only really credible companies are awarded leases in the most energetic areas.  We worry that putting today's devices into the Pentland Firth is like racing a Model T Ford around Brands Hatch - pushing early stage technology too far.

So while we're pleased at the level of interest, we hope that lessees are conservative in rolling out their technologies to less energetic sites first.