Marine Renewables

Statoil on the wind energy learning curve...

At an energy seminar in Bergen last month, Statoil said it would use its expertise in its commitment to offshore wind power. The Norwegian operator, which is gradually building up its wind energy portfolio, has generated over a million kilowatt-hours of electricity from its pioneering Hywind full-scale floating wind turbine during its pilot test off Karmøy near Stavanger. Installed last year, Hywind is reported to be producing at full capacity.

In the US, Statoil has also signed a letter of intent with the governor of Maine to examine the possibility for a medium-sized wind park there (OE March).

And in the UK, Statoil and Statkraft are involved in the Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the east coast, where 88 turbines will be installed with start-up scheduled for late 2011 (see "Nordnes", below), and Statoil, Statkraft, Scottish & Southern Energy and RWE nPower are working on the Dogger Bank wind farm in 18-63m of water. Investment decisions for that development are not expected until 2014. ‘This will give us the opportunity to learn and develop the appropriate expertise, just like we have done in the field of oil and gas,’ said Margareth Øvrum, Statoil’s executive vice president for technology & new energy.

To ensure profitability without subsidies, Statoil believes wind energy technologies must be optimized and improved, and costs need to be reduced. About 80% of the costs in generating wind energy are associated with investments, which is why Statoil has a particular focus on development costs. Lighter and larger turbines will provide greater regularity, and the lower weight also makes both the turbine and the installation less expensive. 

. . . as Nordnes goes to work

Installation work on the UK’s Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm, situated some 17km from the north Norfolk coast, began in earnest last month with the arrival of Van Oord Offshore’s Nordnes flexible fallpipe vessel (pictured right).

The specialist vessel was booked to place 2in-9in filter rocks in a donut shape around 77 of the field’s 90 monopile foundation locations to reduce the likelihood of seabed scour and help protect the cables when they are installed. ‘This work will prepare the site for the arrival of the first foundation for installation at the end of April,’ said project director Rune Runic. ‘Each foundation is made to individual specifications and will be 50-55m long, 4.2-5.2m diameter and weigh 400-600t.’

Van Oord expects the final rock placement for the filter layer to be completed around early June. In a second phase, larger rocks will be placed in the same pattern to act as armour to the filter layer after all the foundations have been installed. The appointment of the contractor to undertake the armour layer work has yet to be announced.

Sheringham Shoal is owned equally by Statoil and Statkraft through the joint venture company Scira Offshore Energy. Statoil is operator for the project development phase; Scira will operate the wind farm. 


Electrical engineering specialist Converteam has been selected by shipbuilder Drydocks World SE Asia to supply major elements of propulsion, DP and automation systems for a new jackup wind turbine installation vessel .

The Gusto MSC designed NG-9000C-HPE wind turbine installation jackup vessel will be the first to feature Converteam’s novel Dual Active Front End (D-AFE) propulsion system in which each thruster can continue to operate even in the event of a total loss of one entire switchboard.

Of particular benefit to DP vessels, says Converteam, is D-AFE’s potential for improved station keeping capability and savings in installed power generation, thruster capacities and fuel.

Seajacks sees double in 2012

Seajacks International has contracted Gusto MSC to develop a basic design package for two or more newbuild wind farm installation jackup vessels, prior to final selection of a shipyard, in order to ensure the newbuild delivery schedule is maintained. Seajacks is anticipating the delivery of the first unit in the 1Q 2012, and then additional units shortly thereafter.

The jackups, which will double the Seajacks fleet, are being designed specifically to service the wind farm installation market in the harsh operating environment of the North Sea, as well as to provide services to the oil and gas sectors. The vessels will be a modified version of the MSC NG5500 design, which incorporates a fully redundant DP2 propulsion system, accommodations for 90, and an 800t leg encircling crane designed by MSC.

Seajacks currently owns and operates two self-propelled jackup vessels out of Great Yarmouth in the UK, the Seajacks Kraken and Seajacks Leviathan. Both vessels are purpose built for installing offshore wind turbines, as well as being able to perform a number of niche operations for the North Sea oil and gas industry.

Blair Ainslie, managing director of Seajacks, says: ‘We are very excited about the additions to Seajacks’ fleet and look forward to offering this new generation of purpose built vessels to our clients. The new vessels will facilitate faster and more efficient installation of turbines and foundations offshore, and provide us with an excellent platform for expansion into other aspects of this growth industry.’

Seajacks was acquired by Riverstone Holdings’s most recent renewable energy fund in January this year. Riverstone is an energy and power-focused private investment firm founded in 2000 with around $17 billion under management across six investment funds. Funding for further expansion of the Seajacks’ fleet will also be provided by the renewable energy fund, which is the world’s largest. 

Tidal surge

Marine Current Turbines has secured approval for a lease from the UK’s Crown Estate to deploy its SeaGen tidal current technology (OE last month) off Brough Ness, on the southernmost tip of the Orkney Islands.

The plan is to have a tidal array of 66 of the company’s turbines, with a total generating capacity of 99MW, working by 2020.

  • Subsea engineering firm SMD has entered into a collaboration agreement with Atlantis Resources to manufacture ‘the world’s largest tidal turbine system’. Due to be deployed at the EMEC test site in Orkney this summer, the AK-1000 turbine will have a rotor diameter of 18m and be capable of producing 1MW of power at 2.6m/s.



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