Copenhagen Energy is pleased to provide an update on our proposals to establish offshore wind farms off WA.
Stakeholder feedback prompts project changes
Copenhagen Energy is proud of the stakeholder and community engagement started over 12 months ago to inform, connect and listen.
Changes have been made to the project areas for three of its proposed offshore wind farms in Commonwealth waters – Leeuwin, Midwest, and Samphire – in response to feedback from stakeholders.
The Leeuwin Offshore Wind Farm project area, between Mandurah and Bunbury, now starts 15km off the coast, increasing the distance from 10km after concerns were raised about the proximity to shore, and the southern end of the area has been adjusted to ensure there is no conflict with an anchorage zone west of the Port of Bunbury.
The Samphire Offshore Wind Farm project area, north of Perth between Lancelin and Two Rocks, now starts 10km offshore, taking into account concerns over visual impact, and the southern area has been reduced to avoid conflict with the Two Rocks marine park.
The Midwest Offshore Wind Farm project area, off Kalbarri, now starts 15km offshore, increasing the distance from 10km to reduce visual impact.
Copenhagen Energy is invested in engaging with its stakeholders as it works to deliver world-class offshore windfarms in WA.
Connecting with well over 100 community groups and leaders, government ministers and departments, local councils and development organisations, education and industry bodies, Copenhagen Energy believes in transparent, honest and open dialogue.
Offshore energy milestone - a new region declared
An area in the Pacific Ocean off the Hunter region in NSW has been revealed as the next possible offshore wind power region, with the Federal Government opening consultation.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said an offshore wind industry in the region could support the decarbonisation and future of onshore manufacturing powered by cheaper, cleaner energy.
The Hunter is an Australian manufacturing powerhouse and home to the nation’s largest smelter.
He said it was known for its strong industrial base, with mining, manufacturing, and agriculture, proving the region already has the skill base for the new industry.
“An offshore wind zone in the Hunter presents significant opportunities to create new energy sector and manufacturing jobs, drive economic growth and reduce emissions,” he said.
The International Energy Agency, in its report Offshore Wind Outlook 2019, said offshore wind is in a category of its own, “as the only variable baseload power generation technology”.
“New offshore wind projects have capacity factors of 40 per cent to 50 per cent, as larger turbines and other technology improvements are helping to make the most of available wind resources,” the report said.
“At these levels, offshore wind matches the capacity factors of efficient gas-fired powerplants, coal-fired power plants in some regions, exceeds those of onshore wind and is about double those of solar PV.”
Interest in offshore wind projects throughout Australia is increasing, along with investment. Several projects are proposed in WA.
The Federal Government has said there are a further four regions earmarked for offshore wind zones, including the Indian Ocean region off Perth/Bunbury.
Copenhagen Energy has plans for four offshore wind farms in Commonwealth waters from Bunbury to Kalbarri.
Copenhagen Energy Development Manager, Australia, Joy Francis-Hayes said investors were recognising the potential in the WA market, because of its abundant wind resources, world-class skills and expertise, low sovereign risk, strong social and environmental governance and sizeable decarbonisation demand from the industrial sector.
“The comments from Minister Bowen on the suitability of the Hunter region for offshore wind and its industrial base can also be said of WA, the Kwinana and wider industrial areas, and the need for reliable power supplies,” Joy said.
“Added to that is the State Government’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050,and its target of reducing Government emissions by 80 per cent below 2020levels by 2030.
“The State’s future energy mix will play a major role in achieving these targets and offshore energy is ideally placed to be part of the solution.
“Copenhagen Energy is ready to play a major role supporting the State to reach its targets. We have the experience and technical expertise and are looking to engage with local talent to create a pipeline of offshore wind solutions for Western Australia.
“We need the Federal Government to shift its focus west, announce the Indian Ocean zone and begin consultation. We are already well advanced in this area; we can be up and running.”
The Federal Government is yet to say when the first WA offshore wind power region will be announced.
Study a new take on bird safety
Just as technological improvements continue to benefit the offshore wind industry, so the knowledge of environmental impacts and interactions with wildlife continue to improve.
A new study conducted by European energy company Vattenfall found that offshore wind turbines at one UK wind farm are much less dangerous to birds than previously thought.
Vattenfall’s study looked at seabird behaviour over two years at the Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea on the east coast of Scotland.
The study recorded no collisions between a bird and a blade and found that seabirds avoided wind turbine rotor blades offshore.
“The risk of birds colliding with wind turbine blades is sometimes used as an argument against the use of wind power,” the report said.
“The unique, previously unused, technical solution for the study has been to combine radar data with cameras to identify the species of seabird and create a three-dimensional image of birds’ flight patterns and how they avoid rotor blades.”
Project lead Henrik Skovsaid: “This is the first time that any kind of bird species has been studied this closely and in detail at an offshore wind farm. And these birds are really good at avoiding the turbines. Now we need studies on more varieties.”
Copenhagen Energy has plans for four offshore wind farms in Western Australia, in Commonwealth waters in areas from Bunbury to Kalbarri.
Copenhagen Energy Development Manager, Australia, Joy Francis-Hayes said the initial planning for three of its wind farms had included evaluating, avoiding and/or mitigating potential impact on birds.
“The likelihood of detrimental impacts on birds for offshore wind farms is much less than land-based windfarms,” Joy said.
“Nevertheless, we are committed to ensuring that we have a complete understanding of the likely impact of our wind farms so these can be avoided or mitigated in accordance with the new Australian guidance from DCCEEW.”
“The more studies that are conducted, the better we are able to understand these issues. The findings of the Vattenfall study are important, but of course the conditions off WA are unique and we will need to conduct our own research to be sure that we develop the best projects possible for the location environment.”
Critical minerals needed to drive renewable energy
Australia has an opportunity to seize the moment to leverage its critical minerals endowment to fuel the global clean energy transition, Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King told an industry conference last month.
Addressing the Future of Mining Conference, Minister King said “a commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050 means we will need more mining, not less, as we seek to extract the minerals we need to build batteries, semi-conductors and wind farms”.
“I have said previously that I see this effort as a national mission – that it is critical to support the world in getting to net zero while creating new industries for the future here in Australia,” she said.
“We can all agree on one thing: the critical minerals boom shows few signs of slowing. International demand for Australia’s lithium, rare earths, manganese, cobalt, and the other minerals crucial for clean energy technologies, remains strong.
“The latest Resources and Energy Quarterly forecasts lithium export earnings to increase more than 10-fold in two years, from $1.1 billion in 2020-21 to $17 billion in 2023-24.
“Using our critical minerals as a precursor for advanced manufacturing here in Australia remains a key priority for the Government.”
The International Energy Agency says wind turbines require concrete, steel, iron, fibreglass, polymers, aluminium, copper, zinc, and critical minerals including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite.
Mineral intensities not only depend on the turbine size, but also on the turbine type. Turbines based on permanent-magnet synchronous generators – which dominate the offshore market due to their lighter and more efficient attributes as well as lower maintenance costs –require REEs.
Of the 17 rare earths, a wind turbine uses about a ton of four of them: neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium.
Circular economy advancements for wind turbine blades
Substantial advances are being made globally to find ways to recycle wind turbine blades.
A Danish company has announced plans to establish industrial-scale wind turbine blade recycling factories across Europe.
Continuum, a Denmark-based company founded in 2021, says it has the alternative to burying blades in landfill, a process that many countries in Europe are looking to ban from 2025.
The company plans to recycle the wind turbine blades into new, high-performing composite panels for the construction and related industries to be used in facades, industrial doors, and kitchen counter tops.
Nicolas Derrien, Chief Executive Officer of Continuum Group ApS said: “We need solutions for the disposal of wind turbine blades in an environmentally friendly manner, we need it now, and we need it fast.”
Each Continuum factory in Europe will have the capacity to recycle a minimum of 36,000 tonnes of end-of-life turbine blades a year and feed the high value infinitely recyclable product back into the circular economy by 2024/25.
With investment from Climentum Capital and a grant from the UK’s Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, Continuum is planning for the first of six factories in Esbjerg to be operational by the end of 2024 and for a second factory in the UK to follow soon after.
The company is looking to build factories in France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey by 2030.
Elsewhere, Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas announced last month that it had devised a way to re-use epoxy based blades currently in land fill and those still in operation when they are decommissioned.
In a statement, Vestas said that until now turbine blades have been challenging to recycle due to the chemical properties of epoxy resin, a resilient substance that was believed to be impossible to break down into re-usable components.
Vestas spokesperson Mie Elholm Birkbak said: “The newly discovered chemical process shows that epoxy-based turbine blades, whether in operation or sitting in landfill, can be turned into a source of raw material to potentially build new turbine blades.
“As the chemical process relies on widely available chemicals, it is highly compatible for industrialisation, and can therefore be scaled up quickly.”
Once mature, the new solution will provide Vestas with the opportunity to produce new turbine blades made from re-used blade material. In the future, the new solution also signals the possibility to make all epoxy-based composite material a source of raw material for a broader circular economy, potentially encompassing industries beyond wind energy.
In the United States, recycling innovator REGEN Fiber has launched a process to recycle wind turbine blades, keeping them out of landfill.
The company says it uses an eco-friendly process to convert the blades into reusable materials for manufacturers in the concrete, mortar and other industries.
The primary end-product is a top-performing reinforcement fibre that increases the strength and overall durability of concrete and mortar applications such as pavement, slabs-on-grade and precast products.
The company also produces microfibres and additives from components of the wind blade for use in a range of composite, concrete and soil stabilization applications.
Copenhagen Energy Chief Executive Officer Jasmin Bejdic said technology around wind farm construction, operation and decommissioning was evolving rapidly as demand increased globally.
“When we started planning for our WA wind farms we knew burying blades in land fill was not acceptable, but we were confident that solutions would be found,” he said.
“We will have the benefits of these advancements to deliver world-class wind farms for Western Australia.”
Spreading the word on the benefits of offshore wind to WA regions
Copenhagen Energy Development Manager, Australia, Joy Francis-Hayes continues to advocate for the benefits of offshore wind power as interest and understanding of the emerging energy sector in WA grows.
Joy was one of six judges involved in National Resources Energy Australia’s LETs Pitchevent held during the Australian Oil and Gas Energy conference in March.
The judges heard from companies with novel and scalable clean energy technology solutions that can help Australia transition to a net-zero future, with the winners joining Austrade’s Clean Energy Mission in Singapore.
Joy said she and the other judges had the privilege of watching eight exciting pitches from low-emission technologies from around Australia.
“It is another great example of the innovation that is happening in Australia to decarbonise the world,” she said.
Joy also took part in Atlas Professionals’ Renewables Round Table, joining Atteris Onshore Business Stream Leader Thomas Seeber, and Worley Regional Offshore Wind Lead Australia and New Zealand.
In March, Joy provided support to Bunbury’s Manea Senior College and the Dolphin Discovery Centre, which facilitated a 2023 Future Innovators Youth Conference.
It was open to Year 10 to Year 12 students from across the South West education region and provided students the opportunity to work collaboratively with industries and community organisations, to define real-world problems and to get a better understanding of the labour market and future career opportunities.
Joy said each of the events and those upcoming were excellent opportunities to explain the environmental, social and economic benefits of offshore wind power.
Copenhagen Energy has plans for four offshore wind farms in WA, in separate project areas in Commonwealth waters from Bunbury to Kalbarri.
With one of the projects, the Leeuwin Offshore Wind Farm, proposed for an area between Mandurah and Bunbury, supporting the Manea College event was a chance to talk directly to students who may be interested in working in the offshore energy sector, Joy said.
“Renewable energy including offshore wind will be an important part of WA’s future energy mix and as this becomes more apparent we’re seeing increasing interest in Copenhagen Energy and its plans for WA,” Joy said.
“WA is so well-placed for offshore wind. Copenhagen Energy is ready to work with the State and Federal Governments to progress our plans as quickly as possible to provide reliable, green power for WA homes and businesses.”
In late April, Copenhagen Energy was represented by Sustainability and Approvals Manager, Sarah Watson. Sarah participated as a panellists at an Energy Club of WA event to discuss the state of renewables in WA, sharing the stage with Minister for Energy, Hon. Bill Johnston and other renewable energy proponents.
Copenhagen Energy experts in wind, solar farms globally
Copenhagen Energy is continuing to develop its global renewable energy portfolio, with recent advances in a solar farm project in Denmark and offshore wind farms in the Philippines.
PetroGreen Energy Corporation (PGEC) and Copenhagen Energy began co-developing wind farm projects off the coast of the Philippines in 2020 and formalised their collaboration by forming the partnership, Buha Wind Energy Philippines, in 2022.
PGEC has an extensive track record in developing and operating renewable generation plants (onshore wind, solar, geothermal) across the Philippines.
Buha Wind is developing three floating offshore wind farms – Northern Luzon, Northern Mindoro and East Panay.
Northern Luzon – offshore of Ilocos Norte – will produce 2 GW of electricity and is expected to be fully operational in 2030.
Northern Mindoro – offshore of Occidental Mindoro and Batangas – will produce 1 GW of electricity and is expected to be operational in 2031.
East Panay – offshore of Iloilo and Guimaras – will produce 1 GW of electricity and is expected to be operational in 2033.
Once commissioned, the wind farms will operate year round for more than 30 years.
Located from 1km to 18km off the coast, the three wind farms will generate a total capacity of 4 GW of power once fully commissioned. The water depths of 80m – 800m provide good conditions for the implementation of floating foundation technology.
In Denmark, the 51MW Holmen Solpark 2 solar farm has been connected to the grid. European Energy has been responsible for the delivery of the last three stages of the energy park which it is developing in collaboration with Copenhagen Energy.
The project is located in the Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality in the Western part of Jutland and will in future produce green power for the surrounding electricity grid corresponding to approximately 13,000 households’ annual consumption.
Keep in Contact
Copenhagen Energy is committed to open and regular consultation with all our stakeholders as we progress our proposals. Please feel free to contact us at any stage if you would like further details.
Copenhagen Energy acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises their ongoing culture and connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.