Weekly Intelligence Brief: August 30 - September 06

Cape Wind ruling sets precedence on transmission linksThis week’s WindEnergyUpdate includes the following: Cape Wind; BlackRock Investment Management (U.K.) Limited & Vestas; Iberdrola Renovables, Neoenergia & Iberdrola investee; Harland and Wolff (H&W) Heavy Industries & Siemens; Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) and RWE npower renewables; Hochtief Construction & DEME Group; Ballast Nedam, A2SEA & Dong Energy; RWE Innogy.

Where did Cape Wind's developers go wrong?


Cape Wind ruling sets precedence on transmission links

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court voted 4-2 in favour of wind farm developer Cape Wind Associates in a case that would allow permits for the Cape Wind offshore wind turbine project.  

The six-member panel of the state’s highest court decided 4-2 that the transmission lines to link Cape Wind to the region’s electric grid could go ahead. The development means that the project has seen the exit of a potential obstacle as its developers prepare to start building 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound within the year.

“The SJC’s decision brings to a close 10 years of state and local permitting for this landmark clean energy project,” said David Rosenzweig, Cape Wind’s attorney in these proceedings.

The court upheld a May 2009 decision by the Energy Facilities Siting Board to issue nine local and state permits to Cape Wind, even though the Cape Cod Commission, a regional planning and regulatory agency, had denied one of the permits, for a transmission line.

Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall and Justice Francis X. Spina, according to a report filed by boston.com, disagreed in part, arguing that the Siting Board had no authority to make a decision on one specific permit — whether cables can cross state tidelands — and should have also considered some in-state effects of the proposed wind farm being built in federal waters.

The court’s ruling “establishes a dangerous and unwise precedent, which has far-reaching consequences,’’ Marshall wrote. “A wind farm today may be a drilling rig or nuclear power plant tomorrow.’’


BlackRock juggles Vestas holding

In the last week of August, London-based BlackRock Investment Management (U.K.) Limited, an asset management firm and a provider of global investment management, reduced its holding of Vestas shares from 10,187,787 to 9,802,374 shares (4.81%) and in the same week, increased its holding to 10,327,971 (5.07%).

Vestas recently chose to cut its full-year outlook after swinging to a second-quarter net loss of €119 million (US$153.6mn) compared with a net profit of €43 million (US$55.5mn) in the same period last year. The company saw its second quarter revenue dropping 17% from €1.2bn (US$1.6bn) last year to €1bn million (US$1.2bn) now.

Vestas now only expects an Ebit, margin of 5% to 6% and revenue of €6 billion (US$7.7bn) for the full year, down from a previous forecast of an Ebit margin of 10% to 11% and revenue of €7 billion (US$9bn).


Iberdrola Renovables wins Brazilian contract

Iberdrola Renovables, in a consortium with Neoenergia, a Brazilian energy holding company, and Iberdrola investee, has won a €60 million (US$77mn) contract to build nine new wind farms in Brazil, with total installed capacity of 258 MW.

The contract award took place in Rio de Janeiro, during the second tender process for renewable energies in the country, organised by the Agencia Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (Aneel).

Iberdrola says it is committed to supply the electricity generated at these facilities to the Brazilian government for a 20-year period, starting in January 2013.

This contract is the first to originate from the memorandum of understanding between Iberdrola and Neoenergia.

In mid-August, Iberdrola and Neoenergia chose to work together to develop and jointly operate onshore and offshore wind farms in Brazil. Within the framework of the agreement, the two parties, which are considering eventually forming a 50-50 joint venture, commit to bid together on tenders issued by Aneel, including the 2010 Reserve Energy and A-3 2010 programmes.

Iberdrola currently has one wind farm in Brazil, the Río do Fogo farm in the state of Río Grande do Norte with an installed capacity of 49 MW.


Harland and Wolff to build Siemens offshore substations

Belfast, U.K. based shipyard Harland and Wolff (H&W) Heavy Industries has won a contract from energy major Siemens to design and build two offshore substation platforms for the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm off the coast of North Wales.

The substations will be completed by June 2012.

According to a report filed by bbc.co.uk, the contract is worth in the region of £20 million (€24mn; US$31mn).

The 576 MW Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm comprises 160 turbines and is being developed by a consortium of RWE Innogy, SWM – Municipal Utility Munich, Germany and Siemens 13 km off the coast of North Wales.

Siemens will supply the wind turbines, which will be connected via 33 kV array cables to two new offshore substations. Onboard the H&W built platforms Siemens’ equipment will transform the power from up to 132kV for transmission back to a new onshore substation at St Asaph also to be built by Siemens.

H&W emphasised that it has designed the platform using stiffened panels typical of shipbuilding and offshore structures. This approach offers cost and weight savings, increased watertight integrity, structural flexibility and opens opportunities for floating, self-installing projects in the future.


Greater Gabbard foundations installation complete

The installation of all the 140 turbine monopile foundations is complete and 30 turbines are now in place at the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm located approximately 25 km off the Suffolk Coast. It is a joint venture partnership between Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) and RWE npower renewables.

In May this year, SSE shared that 69 turbine foundations, out of a total of 140, were in place. The 3.6MW wind turbines are being supplied by Siemens and installed by Fluor.

The first offshore turbines are expected to start producing renewable energy later this year and the wind farm will become fully operational in 2012.

Hochtief, DEME Group to work on EnBW Baltic 2 project

German construction company Hochtief Construction and the Belgian DEME Group have been contracted to construct major elements of the German Baltic EnBW Baltic 2 wind farm.

The joint venture will deliver and erect the foundations and will handle logistics for the construction of the towers and wind turbines.

Hochtief has a 50% share in the joint venture and the client is German energy supply company EnBW Erneuerbare Energien. The project is worth around €382 million (US$493mn; £319mn), according to Hochtief.

EnBW Baltic 2 (formerly Kriegers Flak) is situated around 32 km north of the island of Rügen in the west Baltic Sea on an area covering around 27 square kilometres.

The foundations weigh up to 670 tonnes, installed at water depths of up to 44 metres. The offshore work will start in early 2012and is scheduled for completion in 2013.

EnBw is investing in excess of €1 billion (US$1.2bn; £830mn) in this project.

EnBW and Siemens Energy signed a contract for the supply of 80 wind power units, type SWT-3.6-120 for the EnBW Baltic 2 offshore wind farm in June this year. The order was termed as the first milestone for the realisation of Germany’s second commercial offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea.


Ballast Nedam inks pact with A2SEA

Dutch company Ballast Nedam has inked a contract with A2SEA for the use of the Heavy Lift Vessel (HLV) Svanen at the Anholt offshore wind farm in Denmark.

A2SEA is providing the Danish energy company Dong Energy with the vessel for the installation of the foundations in this wind farm.

Dong will consequently make the HLV Svanen available to the contractor that will supply and install the foundations. The contractor has yet to be selected. The HLV Svanen is currently in the UK, where it is installing 90 foundations for the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm at a location 17-23 kilometres off the coast of Norfolk, near Sheringham.

The wind farm consists of 111 turbines each with a capacity of 3.6 MW. The foundations consist of a tubular steel pile (known as a monopile), and a transition piece that connects the monopile to the wind turbine’s tower. The HLV Svanen will commence operations on this project at the end of 2011, and the work will continue into the third quarter of 2012.

Ballast Nedam has signed another agreement with Walney Offshore Windfarms (Scottish and Southern Energy and DONG Energy) for installing monopiles by using the HLV Svanen by the second quarter of 2011. The monopiles weigh around 800 – 1000 tonnes each. These monopiles would be the heaviest ever to be installed at offshore wind farms.


RWE aims to broaden offshore wind market share

German utility RWE plans to become the third largest offshore wind operator in the world by 2014, reports Dow Jones newswire.

To achieve this, the company plans to bring a total capacity of 1GW sea-based wind turbines online by 2014.

“By that time, approvals for another 5 GW should already be in the pipeline,” Martin Skiba, head of RWE’s offshore wind energy operations is reported to have said. Skiba said RWE currently ranks fifth globally in terms of offshore wind energy, behind Dong Energy A/S, Vattenfall Group, E.ON and Centrica.

In addition to the Nordsee Ost wind farm, RWE Innogy is developing offshore wind farm Innogy Nordsee 1 in German territorial waters.  

Off the north coast of Wales, RWE Innogy is already operating the offshore wind farms North Hoyle (60 MW) and Rhyl Flats (90 MW). The decision to build a third wind farm off Wales, Gwynt y Môr (576 MW), was made recently.

In addition, the company presently has a 50% stake in the construction of the 504 MW wind farm Greater Gabbard off the southeast coast of England.

Alone or with partners, RWE Innogy is presently developing further major projects in the UK, such as Triton Knoll (1,200 MW), Atlantic Array (1,500 MW), Galloper (500 MW) and Dogger Bank (around 9,000 MW). In Belgium, the company is also involved in the Thornton Bank wind farm, which in its first stage (30 MW) is already in commercial operation, and is also developing the offshore wind project Tromp Binnen (300 MW) in the Netherlands.