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Developing Mobile Offshore Wind for Micro-Grid Applications

movable floating wind turbines
The concept is floating wind turbines for harsh locations that are rented for short-term needs (Odfjell Oceanwind)

Published Jun 18, 2021 4:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

A Norwegian start-up company launched as a partnership with Odfjell Drilling last year focusing on floating wind turbines for harsh environments, is furthering its novel concept for mobile installations through a newly signed agreement with Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy. Odfjell Oceanwind plans to use the companies’ technologies in the development of its concept for Mobile Offshore Wind Units (MOWUs).

According to Odfjell Oceanwind it is developing a solution ideal suited to micro networks that have short-term or needs for electricity for a fixed period of time. Its Mobile Offshore Wind Units are floating wind turbines that can move from location to location as and when there is a need for renewable power. The company says the installations are ideally suited to provide power to oil and gas fields that require power for a limited period.

The Norwegian oil and gas industry has announced targets to cut its carbon emissions by 50 percent before 2030, but to do this the industry needs to find a source of renewable energy for its offshore fields. Odfjell Oceanwind explains that it is difficult to provide power from shore for the oil fields far out in the North Sea for example while using carbon capture technology is both expensive to install and requires space typically not available on an oil platform. Using power from offshore wind farms is possible but Norway’ timeline for the development of those facilities means that a significant power supply would not be available to the oil industry to meet its 2030 ambitions.

Odfjell Oceanwind’s concept is to develop floating offshore wind turbines that can be moved to the oil fields and would be rented to the operators of the rigs for the life of the field.

“We are really excited to enter into this cooperation,” says newly-appointed CEO of Odfjell Oceanwind, Per Lund. “Odfjell Oceanwind is on a fast-track development to build a rental fleet of floating mobile wind units with a potential to contribute to the oil and gas industry’s emission reduction targets faster than any other available technology. The cooperation with both Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy gives us access to world-leading and proven solutions for wind turbines, energy storage, as well as solutions for power and integration to the host platforms. This is vital for us to minimize time to market, and being able to scale quickly.”

The intention of the new MoU is for the three companies to jointly develop MOWUs. Odfjell Oceanwind is developing its WindGrid hybrid for micro-grids which will be integrated with Siemens Energy’s BlueVault energy storage solution, which includes batteries, AC PowerGrids, transformers, switchboards and power control system. Odfjell Oceanwind’s harsh environment semisubmersible MOWUs are intended to use Siemens Gamesa SG 14-222 DD or SG 11.0-200 DD offshore wind turbines, featuring either 14 MW or 11 MW capacities. The MoU is of non-binding nature.

The goal is to have the first MOWU units producing renewable power from 2024.