Offshore Wind

Swedish Group Moves Ahead With World's Largest Single Offshore Wind Project

Swedish-based renewable energy developer OX2 has taken another step toward construction of its Aurora offshore wind farm, a 5.5-GW project sited between the islands of Gotland and Oland in the Baltic Sea.

OX2 on June 27 announced it had submitted a permit application to build the wind farm under the auspices of Sweden’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Aurora, still in an early development stage, is part of OX2’s 11.7-GW project portfolio for Sweden. Aurora at present is considered the largest single offshore wind farm under development worldwide; Ørsted’s Hornsea project off the UK coast in the North Sea has 7.5 GW of total capacity, but that installation includes four separate wind farms.

“This is the next step to realize the Aurora wind farm,” said Hillevi Priscar, country manager for OX2 in Sweden. “Together with our other planned offshore wind farms it constitutes a significant part of the electricity production Sweden needs, to reach the climate targets and to secure the production and energy independence of Sweden.”

The OX2 announcement came the same day that Siemens Gamesa said it had received a firm order to supply wind turbines for a 913-MW offshore wind project being developed by Ørsted. The Borkum Riffgrund 3 wind farm is sited in waters about 50 kilometers (31 miles) off the coast of Lower Saxony in the German North Sea.

Up to 370 Wind Turbines

Aurora will feature as many as 370 wind turbines, with a maximum tower height of 370 meters, or 1,214 feet, according to OX2 officials. The company said the project if completed as planned would produce about 24 TWh of power annually, or about 17% of Sweden’s total consumption of electricity. OX2 officials said the wind farm would offset emissions of carbon dioxide by 14 million tonnes each year.

OX2 previously has said construction of the project is a few years away, with commercial operation expected in 2030. The company has not publicly announced a turbine model for the project, though it has used turbines manufactured by Germany’s Nordex Group in some previous projects.

Manufacturers are working on models of taller and more powerful offshore wind turbines. Vestas, based in Denmark, last fall said it would install a prototype of its V236-15 turbine in the second half of 2022 at an onshore test center in its home country. The company said the 15-MW model is 280 meters tall, with 115.5-meter-long blades, making it the world’s “tallest and most powerful wind turbine,” according to company officials.

MingYang Smart Energy, a Chinese company, last year said it was developing the MySE 16.0-242, a 16-MW turbine with a height of 264 meters, a rotor diameter of 242 meters, and a 118-meter-long blade. The group said it planned to have a prototype ready next year, with commercial production beginning in 2024.

GE Renewable Energy, meanwhile, is developing a Haliade-X prototype currently being tested at Rotterdam port in the Netherlands. The 14-MW turbine is designed to operate at 260 meters high, with a 220-meter rotor and 107-meter-long blades.

More OX2 Offshore Wind Farms

OX2 in March of this year had applied for a Natura 2000 permit for the Aurora project. That permit is part of the European Commission’s efforts to identify areas suitable for development that will not impact habitats of birds or other species, or marine ecosystems.

OX2 also has filed applications for the 1.8-GW Triton and 1.7-GW Galatea-Galene offshore wind power projects off the coast of Sweden. The Triton wind farm would be located about 30 kilometers (km), or 19 miles, south of Ystad. The installation would include as many as 129 turbines, also with a maximum height of 370 meters, according to OX2.

The Galatea-Galene installation is divided into two sub-areas. Galatea is located about 25 km off Falkenberg, with Galene about 25 km off Varberg. The wind farm will feature up to 101 wind turbines, with a maximum height of 340 meters.

Germany Offshore Project

Siemens Gamesa on Monday said its contract for Ørsted’s Germany project includes the installation of 83 offshore direct drive wind turbines, along with a multi-year deal to service the equipment.

“We are delighted to be again partnering with Ørsted in another important offshore project. This huge wind power plant featuring our SG 11.0-200 offshore Direct Drive machines will provide both clean green energy to more than one million households for decades to come, and also make a significant contribution towards energy security for Germany,” said Marc Becker, CEO of Siemens Gamesa’s Offshore Business Unit.

Construction of the Borkum Riffgrund 3 project is set to begin in 2024, with commissioning expected the following year. Siemens Gamesa said the SG 11.0-200 DD machine that will be used in the project is an 11-MW turbine with a 200-meter rotor, utilizing 97-meter-long Siemens Gamesa B97 blades.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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