SYMPOSIUM: Wind meets Gas

November 22, 2021


Examples of system integration in the North Sea

In a parallel session at the Wind Meets Gas-symposium in Groningen, a wide variety of international parties brought together examples of cooperations in offshore system integration. Contributions came from EMEC, Equinor, Energinet, Aquaventus and some of the North Sea Energy-partners. The parallel session provided a spiritual setting to exchange thoughts and initiatives not only across borders but also cross-technologies.

Innovation is not a stand-alone idle process.
In a short pitch, Saskia Jaarsma (TenneT) highlighted the long road innovation makes and the complexity in the whole process. The 2 GigaWatt (GW) High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC)-innovation road already started but the ultimate goal is to install at least six 2GW offshore grid connection systems by 2028 and 2030.  Innovation cannot be stand-alone idle processes. The realised future 2GW blue print is a result of collaboration with engineers, logistical experts, offshore design specialist etc.

Cross-border cooperation
The blue print for collaboration is less simple. Although, the need for cross-border cooperation is widely acknowledged, rather little is happening on cross-border cooperation. On behalf of the North Sea Programme, Joris Koornneef highlighted the multitude of system integration options, ranging from electrification, CCS to offshore hydrogen production.

Offshore hydrogen production
René van de Meer (Neptune Energy) presented the first hydrogen demonstration facility ‘PosHYdon’ in the North Sea, which should demonstrate that offshore hydrogen production can take place safely. Further scale-up of hydrogen production was discussed by Wilfred van Bergen (IV Offshore & Energy) by highlighting hydrogen production on a dedicated new platform structure. The combined landing and integration with electrolyses – as discussed by Anders Winther from Energinet (NSWPH) -  can support in conjunction with all the other system integration options – an effective integration of energy systems in Europe.

Although Europe is getting serious about hydrogen –indicated by German’s ambition to create at least 5 GW hydrogen production capacity by 2030  (of which according to Jimmie Langham (Aquaventus) offshore hydrogen production will play a big role) – other system integration options should not be forgotten.

As Bjarne Bull-Berg from Equinor wisely said “40 years of gas infrastructure and subsea developments in the North Sea​ is a wealth of experience to build on”. The experience from Sleipner and Snøhvit, as well as the development of innovative business models for CO2 transport and storage shows that with early-adaption a competitive edge can be founded on experience, infrastructure and customers.

At last, James Walker from EMEC showed that marine technologies – like tidal energy in the case of the Orkneys – should be considered as an integral part of the energy systems by for instance coupling it to hydrogen production facilities.

To conclude, the session highlighted the North Sea as a pool of innovations, which - when combined - can support the decarbonisation of North West Europe. Individually these innovations can grow to become globally leading technologies and integration solutions.

All publicly available presentations are shared on the WMG homepage: Relive Wind Meets Gas 2021