In recent years, the idea of using renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind, to provide green power to offshore oil and gas installations has garnered significant interest. However, many hurdles have stood in the way of making this a reality.
Arguably the biggest impediment has been an inability on the part of end-users to justify investments in the deployment of fixed wind turbines and supporting infrastructure. The inherent intermittency and unpredictability of power generation from wind also presents power stability issues and makes return on investment (ROI) difficult to quantify. The latter can put overall project economics at risk.
Both Siemens Energy and Odfjell Oceanwind are on the forefront of addressing these concerns with the development and commercialization of enabling technologies, such as energy storage and mobile offshore wind units (MOWUs). Together, and in conjunction with Siemens Gamesa, our companies are now taking the next step by advancing an offshore floating wind concept that will allow oil and gas installations to accelerate their decarbonization efforts.
The three parties will jointly develop MOWUs which will be used as part of Odfjell Oceanwind’s WindGri hybrid system. WindGrid leverages energy storage and grid converters to create offshore “microgrids” designed to supply uninterruptible, emissions-free power to off-grid oil and gas facilities (e.g., drilling rigs and production installations) that rely on fossil-fuel based power generation from gas turbines or gas/diesel gensets.
With WindGrid, it is possible for all onsite generators on the host installation to be shutdown during periods of peak wind power production. A recent verification review by DNV confirmed that expected reductions in CO2 emissions for North Sea applications are in the range of 60-70% when compared to generation of electricity from conventional gas turbines. This is roughly double the expected savings that are possible by integrating conventional wind power to offshore microgrids (i.e., without energy storage or grid converters). In such cases, the existing generators are still needed to offset intermittency and ensure grid stability.