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Danish wind project to take E.ONs


Adam Westwood

E.ON Sverige has pulled out of the Rodsand II offshore wind farm off Nysted in Denmark. What comes next for the project? Adam Westwood reports on this, and other breaking developments in the wave and tidal sector.

The Rodsand II offshore wind farm off Nysted in Denmark, a 200 MW project, was initially awarded to a consortium comprising E.ON, DONG and Energi E2 (in 2005, DONG acquired and merged Elsam and Energi E2 creating DONG Energy). The consortium was awarded the project in 2006 after submitting the lowest settlement price during the bid process. The price was fixed at 49.9 øre/kWh for 50,000 full-load hours (around 12 years of production).

In May 2007, DONG Energy dropped out of the project leaving consortium partner EON Sverige to drive the development towards scheduled completion at the end of the decade. DONG's withdrawal was stated to be based on its commitments to the then under-construction Burbo project and the soon to be built Horns Rev II and Gunfleet offshore wind farms. It is known to have viewed the project as uneconomic particularly given the turbine price rises that have been seen across the industry over the past two to three years.

After DONG dropped out, E.ON stated that it would proceed with the project pending a final investment decision by the end of 2007.

In November 2007, E.ON was given the go-ahead to build the wind farm. Construction was timetabled for 2009 and full operation expected in 2010. The Danish Energy Authority granted final sanction for up to 90 wind turbines of around 2.3 MW each alongside three experimental machines of up to 5 MW, giving a nominal power total of up to 215 MW.

In late December 2007, E.ON told officials at The Danish Energy Authority that the original bid price of 49.9 øre/kWh was not sufficient given increasing construction and component expenses. E.ON has since suggested that a price closer to double the original level would be necessary.

The DEA is now poised to issue a new tender in mid-February 2008, with the winning bidder expected to be announced in the summer. E.ON is expected to bid again and is likely to compete against DONG and Vattenfall for the project. The new developer is expected to be able to pick-up where E.ON left-off.

Progress has at last been made at the Robin Rigg wind farm in the Solway Firth off Scotland. The first 8 foundations and transition pieces have been installed by the MPI vessel Resolution. That vessel will now return to Centrica's Lynn & Inner Dowsing project. Construction will resume in March when the Lisa vessel is due back on site.

The project faced a major problem regarding installation due to vessel failure. In September 2007 E.ON mobilised the vessel Lisa A for foundation installation for the 60 monopolies and major component delivery began. However, in November 2007, the barge collapsed and led to one of the biggest rescue operations in the Solway, with 38 crew members taken to safety. It is still being repaired in Belfast.

In December, E.ON struck a deal to bring in the MPI vessel Resolution to kick-start the delayed foundation installation programme on its Robin Rigg offshore wind farm. Foundation installation with the vessel began in the last weeks of December.

Wave and tidal project news

Ireland has introduced a feed-in tariff for wave energy. Under a new addition to the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff scheme, wave energy would receive 22 €cents/kWh. This is amongst the highest in the world. Applicants for the tariff must already have grid connection and power purchase agreements in place.

This is part of €26m to be spent over three years to help commercialise wave energy. A wave test site is planned in County Mayo which will provide wave developers with a guaranteed connection to the national grid with the ability to sell the electricity they produce. €2m has been allocated to the project. A further €2m will go to grants for specific developers in 2008 to commercialise prototype devices.

Marine Current Turbines appears to finally be making fresh progress in its efforts to install its class-leading 1.2 MW SeaGen tidal current turbine in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. MCT has contracted the crane barge Rambiz from Scaldis to install the unit during a two-week period at the end of March.

The company has received further investment by means of a £1m from the UK government funded Technology Strategy Board to cover additional installation costs.

The turbine is to be installed on a jacket structure being built by Burntisland Fabrications in Scotland. Once installed, commissioning and connection to the local grid is expected to take approximately 12 weeks.

In further news regarding MCT, the company has announced a partnership with npower renewables to deliver a commercial-scale tidal stream project off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales. npower renewables and MCT will take forward the project through a newly created development company, SeaGen Wales. Subject to successful planning consent and financing, the tidal farm could be commissioned as early as 2011 or 2012.

It is proposed that the tidal stream project be sited in an area of 25 m deep open sea known as the Skerries, off the north-west coast of Anglesey, north Wales. The scheme will consist of 7, 1.5 MW SeaGen turbines, each likely to stand approximately 9 m above sea level. Previous independent scoping studies have identified the Skerries as an ideal location for a tidal stream project, due to its favourable tidal conditions and natural shelter. The location benefits from good port facilities at Holyhead nearby, proximity to the National Grid facilitating good connection and good transport links, and access to facilitate construction and maintenance.

Studies are about to get started and will last throughout 2008, with a consent application likely to be submitted in mid 2009. Construction and commissioning timescales will be subject to the length of the planning process, but it is anticipated this could take place between 2011 and 2012.

The deal comes less than a week after the launch of npower renewables’ new parent company, RWE Innogy, which has pooled all of RWE's renewable energy activities across Europe. The new company has made strong commitments to investing in renewable energy schemes and expanding its portfolio.

AWS Ocean Energy has received a new £5m funding package from a group that includes Shell Technology Ventures Fund and Tudor BVI Global Portfolio LP. The investors will take a shareholding in AWS. Existing shareholder RAB Capital is believed to be expanding its holding.

The funding, together with the £2m grant from the Scottish government in 2007 allows construction and installation of the 250 kW prototype at the European Marine Energy Centre off Orkney, Scotland, in 2009.

Following the prototype's deployment, AWS state that a small commercial demonstration project is planned for 2011 which they ultimately aim to increase in size to 100 units.

Oceanlinx has abandoned plans to list on London's Alternative Investment Market and is instead pursuing a private placement to raise funds for its next projects.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Renewable Hawaii Inc for potential investment in a 2.7MW project. Three of Oceanlinx's devices would be installed 1km off the north coast. Electricity would be transported via a subsea cable to a substation on Maui Electricity Company's grid. Power purchase negotiations have begun with Renewable Hawaii.

About the author
Adam Westwood is Renewable Energy Manager at Douglas-Westwood Ltd. DWL's market survey, research, analysis and strategy services are used by clients in 37 countries with over 500 assignments completed since formation in 1990. Focused on the energy and marine industries, in the past three years DWL have completed market due diligence on M&A and financing deals totalling over $7.5 billion. Web: www.dw-1.com, Email: adam@dw-1.com, Tel: +44 (0)1227 780999.

 

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Wave and tidal energy  •  Wind power

 

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