Safe power supplies for offshore wind farms
19” modular rectifier plug-in unit with 4 modules TEBECHOP 3000 HDI and remote monitoring unit MCU 2500
Energy transition is an issue that affects us all. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, the Assembly adopted a climate agreement that provides for global warming to be limited to at least two degrees and ideally to 1.5 degrees Celsius. At the same time, CO2 emissions are to be significantly reduced.
To achieve this goal, we want to implement a gradual transition from conventional energy sources to fully renewable ones. This article describes the way the offshore wind industry is contributing to the latest trends and developments and the role of BENNING in this regard.
Promotion of wind energy
In addition to the study of sustainable technologies, the promotion of wind energy is of particular importance when it comes to the sustainable implementation of the energy transition. As the construction of larger wind farms turns out to be fairly complex in rural areas, the focus is placed on the development of Offshore Wind Farms (OWF), which are constructed in coastal areas (e. g. in the North and Baltic Seas, the Irish Sea or the Iberian Atlantic coast) and supply energy to the coast via submarine cables to feed into the general power grid.
For transmission distances of less than 30 kilometres, the principle of alternating current transmission is generally used. For longer distances and high wind farm performance, however, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission is used, as this allows a lower loss of energy and thus more efficient energy transmission.
Increase in capacity
While the first OWF received substantial subsidies from the government, the first projects are currently being implemented without state funding. This is a clear sign that the offshore wind industry has established itself in recent years as a new and strong industrial sector in Europe.
Especially in Germany, the offshore sector is in the ascendancy. At the end of 2017, a total of 1,196 offshore wind turbines were connected to the grid in 20 OWFs with a total capacity of around 5,387 MW. But that is not all: According to the plan, this figure is to be increased to 10,700 MW by 2025 – and other European countries also wish to follow suit. The Netherlands, for example, plans to expand its offshore capacity from 1,120 MW currently to 7,000 MW by 2030. Over the past five to ten years, a large number of OWFs have already been built and put into operation – especially in European countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany or the Netherlands. Most of these wind farms have a total capacity ranging between 300 and 700 MW.
Not only the number of wind turbines, but also their average power has significantly increased to 10 MW. At the same time, the voltage level and thus the use of DC connections has increased – as a result of the larger amounts of energy, some of which are transported over very long distances.
Artificial energy islands
Several European energy companies are currently working on a major project which is significantly contributing to the implementation of the goals of the UN Climate Change Agreement. It consists of several man-made North Sea islands, on which various wind farms are connected to generate electricity for the surrounding countries.
By the year 2027, they should be able to produce sufficient energy to supply approx.
80 million households. There are also central facilities such as accommodation for technical and operational personnel as well as an airport and water port close to these hubs.
Secure power systems
For almost 15 years now, BENNING has proven to be a reliable designer and manufacturer of flexible and, above all, safe power supply systems in the offshore sector. It supplies both rectifier systems and UPS systems with batteries, which are primarily used on offshore platforms where permanent availability of critical loads (e. g. switchgear for high voltage, communication and safety systems) must be ensured by means of uninterruptible power supplies. BENNING also offers tailor-made solutions for the wind turbines themselves, especially in transition pieces. The systems used here must meet the highest requirements in terms of EMC, vibration and climatic influences.
BENNING provides its customers with an experienced team of competent experts whose aim is to maximise the use of power supplied in the offshore wind energy sector in terms of safety and efficiency. BENNING is continually seeking to optimise service performance from planning through to maintenance in a targeted fashion.
BENNING’s extensive service package also includes the Hotline support service for its customers. On request, BENNING also provides employees who specialise in offshore operations for on-site deployment. This ensures continuous operational safety of the wind turbine. A small but important contribution on the way to the energy transition.