Statoil Floating Wind Farm - Scotland


#1

There was a topic posted in May 2016 about Statoil’s application to develop a windfarm off the coast of Scotland. No follow-up since then so I thought it might be worth revisiting.

Statoil is a Norwegian company focused on off-shore oil drilling. It is using this deepwater experience to build and manage infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions. The Hywind Scotland installation, located 25km from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is online as of October 2017. The 30MW project cost £200 million ($263 million) and Statoil anticipates future projects will be built more quickly and at a lower cost.

The goal of Hywind Scotland is to “demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible” according to an October 18 article in Ars Technica. The towers are tall, reaching 176m (577 feet) above sea level and 78m (256 feet) below it, to facilitate the rotor diameter of 154m (505 feet).

Is this potentially the application that would allow seasteading in international waters?

Original thread: New floating wind farm


(Wilfried Ellmer) #2

In our group we see seasteading rather as a “convergance of offshore technologies” that will produce “New Atlantis” - a fully seabased civilization of advanced city states, in the end, on an inevitable evolutionary path (2).

Offshore wind farms for deep water, are one of the cutting edges of this development. Cruise ships, floating ports, mega yachts, and many other technologies will also participate in this development…

Hypothesis: Ocean Colonization will develop along multiple axes and be driven by multiple economic drivers, among those are oceanic energy, mid ocean ridge mining, open water aquaculture, global container transport infrastructure, floating real estate, etc…

@dodger | So to answer your question from our view angle, yes, this is a pixel of a bigger picture called ocean colonization subchapter oceanic energy.


#3

So to answer your question from our view angle, yes, this is a pixel of a bigger picture called ocean colonization subchapter oceanic energy.

I was trying to look beyond the obvious energy angle, to the potential structural component. While I think the Polynesian project is a worthy proof of concept and has obvious benefits with transportation, supply chain, etc. I am not convinced that a legal structure which requires a 3rd party is the best long-term solution. Continued research to develop a seastead in International waters is, therefore, needed.

Now I’m thinking about an engineering solution that involves (i) tethered/floating structure, coupled with (ii) partial submersion. Excess energy production could potentially be sold as a source of income but transmission over distance may be problematic.


(Larry G) #4

All entities with the resources to build something that big are irretrievably entwined with a legal context that already exists somewhere.

Company X that has $1 billion to invest in building a complete sea city from scratch, still has a financial responsibility to shareholders of Company X in the place where it originally incorporated. It is still subject to the laws of the place it is incorporated.

Even if they “spin off” a subsidiary, they still have a duty to shareholders that all exist within a legal country. There is NO completely blank slate legal state to start from except for renouncing your citizenship and taking your personal resources with you to the open ocean.

There ARE varying degrees of achievable de facto autonomy and reduced oversight. The more resources it takes to build it, the less there will be of this.


#5

Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately I don’t really follow your point. There are banks, venture funds and individuals that loan money all around the world. Similarly, there are companies that are listed on a particular stock exchange that operate in foreign countries.

I don’t see any breach of fiduciary obligations unless the proposed seastead development was labeled a terrorist organization or state. There are much broader legal issues about creating a sovereign entity but the development is conceptually no different for a bank or an investor than investing abroad. The usual IRS reporting issues would apply, as would proper tax treatment for any interest income or capital gains.

Also, I started this thread to bring attention to a current, real-life application of technology used for a floating/tethered project that may have applicability to seasteading.


(Larry G) #6

“Scottish households have the highest energy costs in Britain, according to official figures.
The average spend in Scottish homes is £112 a month,”

So taking the figure of 20,000 households supplied at peak operation, and the monthly average, this could generate a revenue of maybe 2.24 million pounds monthly.

Discussion of costs (not vouching for accuracy):

"Hywind Economics Economics are improved over the initial one-turbine, 2.3 MW prototype. The prototype generated 40 GWh over several years and demonstrated a 50 percent annual capacity factor during one year. Lessons learned at Hywind Scotland’s 30 MW system will be employed in future, large-scale wind parks. Hywind Scotland’s installed cost is GB £210 million (approximately US$276 million. $/kW = 9210.) But, this includes undersea cables. Note, this is just a bit less than the Block Island 30 MW system in the US, which cost US$300 million.
The unsubsidized economics for the small, 30 MW Hywind Scotland system gives a sales price of electricity at $215 per MWh sold for a 12 year simple project payout. This is based on 45 percent annual capacity factor and investment as above. Revenue would be an average of $23 million per year. With public funding sources as described in the Environmental Statement, the economics are very likely substantially better. This price point, $215 per MWh, is competitive with peaker power prices.
With economy of scale and 60 percent reduction in installed cost for a larger 600 MW park, and 12 year simple project payout, no subsidies, the electricity could be sold at $89 per MWh. "


(Larry G) #7

I’m not saying there is a breach of fiduciary responsibility for investing outside national waters. I’m responding to:

I’m saying that even outside national waters, the origin of the money/investors imposes an pre-existing legal context on the investment.


#8

The above quote is from my original post. Maybe not at the level of Moore’s Law, but quite reasonable to assume that costs will decline with increasing experience.

The maths regarding energy costs are certainly interesting but I’m still having trouble following along. Are you saying the Statoil floating platform would not work for a seastead? Or that it is too expensive? Or something else?


#9

Have you ever read a complex loan document? Are you familiar with the concept of loan covenants? Are you aware that any contract can be written to allow jurisdiction under an agreed-upon locale? Of course a loan would have binding legal terms. That is not necessarily a restriction on a sovereign seastead. Just last year Goldman Sachs made a loan to Venezuela (secured by that country’s gold).

My apologies if my attempt to communicate different concepts falls short.


(Larry G) #10

No, I’m presenting information on the costs. Surely that’s relevant?

Have you ever read a complex loan document? Are you familiar with the concept of loan covenants? Are you aware that any contract can be written to allow jurisdiction under an agreed-upon locale? Of course a loan would have binding legal terms. That is not necessarily a restriction on a sovereign seastead. Just last year Goldman Sachs made a loan to Venezuela (secured by that country’s gold).

Yes, Yes, and Yes.
210 million pounds is not chump change. And it is only a patch on what would be required to build a livable seastead to these engineering standards an entity willing (and able!) to invest that kind of money needs a clear and quick return on investment. It has an obligation to stakeholders. While the locale for the contract may be specified in the contract, the context will certainly not be “no controlling legal jurisdiction, no pre-existing contract and case law”. The controlling authority for something with that magnitude of legal and financial responsibility, on a practical level, the investor will insist on the existing the laws of the jurisdiction most favorable to them with enforcement mechanisms. This is the reason why companies incorporate in specific jurisdictions to begin with.

I’m just saying don’t get your hopes up that a major financial source will see the wide-open lack of law or untested new laws on a sovereign seastead as a benefit that is attractive to investment.


#11

Another point of agreement! There may be some benevolent investor willing to throw in a pile of money without concern for the project’s ability to service the debt or hit a target ROI but that probably shouldn’t be the expectation.

And apologies for the thread drift. I posted this to “Engineering” for a reason.


#12

No it’s not. A $15 Mil (initial) investment goes way beyond “a proof of concept”. It’s just a high risk venture without a real proof of concept. For a seasteading proof of concept $100k investment would have suffice.

It depends how they build the seastead. It should be design and built with offshore capabilities, in my opinion. If things turn sour in Bora Bora, time to sail away.

No. There is no more research needed. We are not trying to go to Mars,… All the technology and the “know how” to go seasteading is already here, in the marine industry.

Please note that it was a business decision on the part of Blue Frontiers to go to Bora Bora. Nothing more, nothing less.

$15 Mil could easily build a 300’ LOA offsore capable seastead, population 100-150.

Just turn the excess energy into hydrogen and sell it…

True, because seasteading is high risk investment. But seasteading can also generate a hefty ROI, IF DONE RIGHT, as a business.

We just have to separate SEASTEADING AS A BUSINESS from THE BUSINESS OF SEASTEADING. Two very different things.


(system) #13

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