Energy storageEnvironment & ClimateRenewable energy

Floating energy island approval by Denmark, backs the trend for offshore renewable energy provisions

By May 12, 2021 No Comments

During the Joe Biden Leaders Summit on Climate change one of the key messages brought to the virtual table by many world leaders, was their investment in renewable energy.

Renewable energy is on course to provide at least 15% of the global energy mix by 2040. An example of how offshore renewables are already contributing to the energy mix, in 2020 offshore wind in the UK contributed to some 24.8% of all electricity supplied to the whole of the United Kingdom.

Solar energy once an expensive form of renewables, has seen costs cut by up to 80% over the past decade, making the technology more efficient & more affordable.

However, with pressure from environmentalists about the defacing of our countryside’s & fields with vast blocks of shimmering black solar panels or giant wind turbines disrupting the skyline; some companies are seeking alternatives on water.

Floating solar & natural renewable energy farms have been growing in popularity & have the ability to harness 4 natural renewable energy sources.

  • Wind Energy which will vary site to site. However, considering wind conditions off land, maximising wind energy should not pose a problem. 6 wind turbines at varying heights spread across a 600-metre platform should be able to generate 18MW at peak.
  • Sea Current Energy is site dependent but utilizing specifically designed enabling technology can generate between 2 & 10 MW.
  • Wave Energy is better suited to deeper, rougher seas. The average wave energy profile of the North Sea is 50kW compared to 15kW in tropical waters.  Wave energy has the ability to contribute 6MW.
  • Solar Energy is the last natural source that can feed the energy island. In terms of production, it is also the most active. A wide range of solar collection systems can be considered for use. “Power Tower” operations in tropical latitudes can generate collection efficiencies of 75% & produce a secondary conversion ratio to electricity of 40%. (1)

In 2018, China turned on the then largest solar farm in the Anhui province on a lake over a collapsed coal mine. The power station produces 40 megawatts of energy & produces enough energy to power 15,000 homes.

Japan, which hosts 73 of the world’s 100 largest floating solar plants, accounts for 246MW of solar capacity.

In 2019 a group of Dutch engineers began planning their floating solar island to be taken out onto the Andijk reservoir, consisting of 15 islands with total of 73,500 panels.

The islands have a diameter of 140m & will be capable of rotating to follow the Sun’s path during the day to maximise the power produced. In fact, tracking solar panels will generate 30% more electricity compared to the static option. (2)  The water company PWN which owns the land & the lake, anticipates that there will be enough renewable energy generated by these solar islands, to power 10,000 homes.

Therefore, with the technology already having proven successful in other countries across the world, Denmark have become the latest country to announce their investment in offshore floating island renewable energy.

Denmark having already been the first to build an offshore wind farm in 1991, now become world leaders once again with their highly ambitious floating energy island.

Denmark’s landmark plans having been approved, will see a development the size of 18 football pitches, some 80 kilometres off the Danish coast;  host up to 600 giant wind turbines, each standing up to 260 metres tall. Large batteries will also be installed on the island to store surplus energy, for when demand is higher.

The initial phase of the development is set to generate 3GW of energy, rising to 10GW. This is enough to provide energy to 10 million households, with the surplus being sold to other nations & further plans to generate green hydrogen from sea water, also to be sold throughout the EU.

With such ambitious plans, the Danish government have sought investors to support the €29bn ($34bn) investment & aim to have this pioneering project operational by 2033.

With the worlds renewable energy needs becoming a driving force to address the impact of climate change, Denmark are setting the benchmark for other countries to adapt & adopt their ambitious energy project.

Written & cited by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2