Offshore wind, renewable energy | Norway invests heavily in offshore wind – the main drawback is rarely talked about

Offshore wind, renewable energy |  Norway invests heavily in offshore wind - the main drawback is rarely talked about

More electricity production is needed in the coming years and decades. There is hardly anyone who thinks that you can save money by going green.

The problem is that all forms of electricity production are hated. No matter what is proposed, there will be strong protests.

  • Hydropower destroys nature
  • Wind energy destroys nature
  • Gas energy emits a lot of carbon dioxide
  • Coal energy emits very large amounts of carbon dioxide
  • Sun at best add
  • Nuclear power is perhaps the most resistant of all

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We will soon run out of electricity: These Norwegian measures have exacerbated the electricity crisis

I think the solution is offshore wind

In Norway, the government has decided that new energy will come primarily from offshore wind. They want to develop roughly the same amount of disorganized influence on the seaas is already the case in Norwegian hydroelectric power stations.

The beauty of offshore winds is that they are built far away from where people live, and wind conditions at sea are usually much better than on land. So the potential is very great.

On top of all of that, it is hoped that offshore wind will become a huge opportunity to export technology to Norway, where offshore expertise can be used to float offshore wind. Among other things, Equinor has built a few floating turbines in Scotland.

Offshore wind ambitions have been increased many times over, and work is now underway on Expand the capacity even before you build anything.

Norway is not alone – or first

Offshore wind farms are clearly visible if you are flying over the North Sea. In particular, England and Germany installed large quantities.

In 2020, 25GW capacity has been passed in Europe. By comparison, Norway has 4.6 gigawatts of onshore wind capacity.

There are also insanely high aspirations for development in the coming years.

Before today’s energy crisis became a reality, there were plans for around 100 gigawatts of capacity around the North Sea by 2030. Earlier this year, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium joined forces to develop 150 gigawatts in the North Sea. Similar cooperation is Planned in the Baltic Sea.

EU targets were nearly 400 gigawatts by 2050. Norway’s ambitions Designation areas for 30 gigawatts In addition to.

Aim to build more than you need

Too much power is a good thing, but too much of a good thing can also be a problem.

Although it seems like a distant past, Norway lived for the first time Negation Electricity prices in 2020.

This meant that power producers had to pay to send power to the grid. In wind-reliant Denmark this was relatively common, and it also happened in Norway later.

Quite simply, what happened was that for a while it blew so much on the wind turbines that more electricity was being produced than it was able to use and exported to neighboring countries.

Also during winter and summer with higher prices, almost the same thing happened – especially in Denmark, Germany and Sweden, the price was pushed down towards zero in periods with a lot of wind.

On July 27, electricity cost 1.3 øre in Denmark (DK2) at the start of the day. Later that day, wind production halved and consumption increased. Thus the price jumped to nearly 5 NOK. before taxes.

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With the doubling of offshore wind development, this type of overproduction is expected to become more and more common.

It can be hard to imagine how much 400GW of offshore wind, which is the goal for Europe, actually is. Øystein Heggdal coined it in words in Dating in Europower last year:

“This is more power than what Germany, France, Great Britain, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands have combined in terms of power needs at any time of the year. Even if electrification increases power requirements somewhat, this means that sometimes all capacity in the grid will go to Offshore wind and prices should go to zero or turn negative.”

The reason you want to build more than you need is because wind power is rarely produced at maximum power, but somewhere between 0 and 100 percent. But with large amounts like what is being talked about here, both 0 and 100 become a problem.

It tends to puff up a bit all over the place – all at the same time

The North Sea has largely become a sirloin for offshore wind energy investment. This is where Norway wants to build, and this is where a lot has already been built.

The challenge is that there are a lot of winds or small winds blowing in the entire North Sea at the same time. Roughly speaking, this means that Denmark, England, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium will all test that wind turbines produce too much or too little at the same time.

This means that when it’s very windy, and builders really want to be able to earn big investments, they hardly get paid for the power they create, because everyone else has to provide it at the same time.

So what happens when not many wind turbines that have enough capacity to cover most of Europe’s demand are blowing?

Yes, then the power has to come from somewhere else.

reserve power

Experts will disagree about what this “elsewhere” is. But since the current Should It is produced at the same moment it is consumed, Should Europe has an alternative to periods of near-zero offshore wind production and extremely high consumption.

Perhaps the most terrifying scenario is a week in early January as high pressure settles over the whole of Europe with extremely low temperatures and little wind over the course of several days. In the European context, a summer heat wave can be just as bad.

In Norway we have hydroelectricity. In the rest of Europe there is coal, gas, nuclear power and oil power – Something Which are ready in a short time for production when needed.

But having such backup power in standby mode is very expensive.

If you were an investor: How much money would you pay for electricity if you were to keep a coal-fired power plant up and running all year, but were only allowed to produce for a few hours in between when it was most needed? Anyway, it won’t be 30 cents.

This cost is not taken into account when talking about the cost of developing and operating a new power generation – it is often referred to as “LCOE” (Low Cost of Electricity). According to figures from NVE, onshore winds are now the cheapest to develop.

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The LCOE is probably one of the most misused cost figures in terms of energy. People often use the formula without understanding how to use it. Within lifecycle cost we always use to define performance so we can compare something, and that’s also the basis of LCOE.

– It is quite technically wrong to compare the LCOE of wind energy with the LCOE of nuclear energy. Wind power varies with wind and needs large amounts of support/balance, while nuclear power does not. This means that the LCOE numbers that many people use regarding wind and solar are completely wrong, NTNU professor Jan Emblemsvåg wrote. In a Facebook comment recently.

What about energy storage?

When too much electricity is produced in some periods, and too little in others, the obvious solution is to store the electricity for later use.

It’s easier said than done. With today’s batteries, it is strictly forbidden to store sufficient quantities in a conventional battery.

Last year, Australia commissioned a new energy storage battery, The largest in the southern hemisphereBased on Unified solution from Tesla. A price of just over 1 billion kroner gave 450 megawatt-hours (450,000 kWh) of storage. By comparison, Norway can carry nearly four times as much as Denmark in an hour.

As of today, there are only two relatively realistic solutions: hydrogen and pumped power plants.


Hydrogen can act as a giant battery, and Norway has big visions for investing in hydrogen.

The principle is simple: first you send electricity through the water, which splits the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen can be stored in tanks under high pressure for later use. Much cheaper than batteries and It can be increased easily.

The hydrogen can later be used to generate electricity by sending it to a fuel cell (as in a hydrogen car). Drainage is water only.

The really big challenge is that you lose very Lots of energy in the process. Estimates vary slightly, however Roughly, 60 percent of the energy you put in disappears.

This comes in addition to the fact that offshore wind is among the most expensive electricity generation that can be developed.

In addition, an industrial scale is needed to produce hydrogen, which is unplowed land today. New energy cables to England and Germany are 1,400 megawatts each, while as recently as last year About 24-25 MW They are considered the largest in the world, while 100 MW plants are planned.

pumping force

There is a simpler and more effective solution to what lies behind the idea of ​​turning Norway into an eco-friendly European battery: pumped power.

It is simply about using electricity to pump water into the tanks when there is an excess of electricity. The water can then be used to produce normal hydropower when needed.

Only about 20 percent of the energy is lost here.

Norway has some solutions for this for the usual hydropower plants, including at Blåsjø. Outside there are pumped storage power stations whose sole function is to serve as a battery for shorter or longer periods.

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In 2012, Sintef searched for a solution large enough to actually succeed.

Siemens Energy has proposed building a massive pumped-out power plant in Lysefjord in western Norway, there. Excess energy from offshore winds is used to pump seawater up the mountain.

However, the pumping power is not without problems either. pluck He himself writes that filling and emptying magazines leads to wear and a number of undesirable effects.

Minister: Not all energy can be obtained from offshore wind

Natavizen asked Oil and Energy Minister Terje Asland the following questions:

How does the government envision solving problems through the massive development of offshore wind, most of which are produced when prices are zero and all our trading partners are also producing at full capacity? Should Norwegian hydroelectric power stations be converted to pumped power stations?

For Norway, hydropower has given us, and continues to give us, the control needed to deliver power to consumers when needed. Today it reaches approx. 90 percent of our energy production will be the backbone of the energy system of the future. Norway has different types of reservoirs with different characteristics, which give Norwegian hydropower a unique regulatory ability, Aasland wrote in an email.

A greater share of weather-dependent energy production, both in Norway and in the countries surrounding us, makes modifiable hydropower increasingly important. There is potential to increase energy production through, among other things, modernization and expansion (O/U) of existing hydroelectric plants. The government will increase Norwegian hydropower production, among other things on the basis of Parliament’s decision on the cash flow tax for hydropower and by continuing to prioritize the development and expansion of existing hydropower plants in the licensing process.

Read also: Why don’t we just upgrade hydropower?

At the same time, the goal is clearly to develop much more electricity than Norway can handle:

At the same time, it is important that we continue investing in other energy sources such as solar and wind on land and at sea as society becomes more electrified. This is part of the background to why we have set an ambitious target for offshore wind development on the Norwegian continental shelf, but this must happen gradually through regular declarations and land allotment for offshore energy production. The government’s ambition for offshore wind is not only to produce more renewable energy in the future, but also to contribute to industrial development, innovation and new jobs that we will need in a green transformation. The government will defend the first projects to be realized and evaluate state aid for the first rounds of allocations. The subsequent development of the assigned area will depend on sufficient willingness to push in the market.

– The overall development depends, among other things, on the investment decisions of the players. The Norwegian power system, as it is currently designed, cannot accommodate 30,000 megawatts of unregulated energy, such as offshore wind. So the government assumes that different online solutions will be used. He says dual-stream power cables, radial trains to Europe, and Norwegian will be considered for each tender.

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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