CrossWind, a joint venture of Shell and Dutch energy company Eneco, has made a deal with technology developer Oceans of Energy that will see the Hollandse Kust Noord (HKN) offshore wind farm be complemented by the world’s first commercial offshore array of floating solar panels.
Offshore solar has exciting potential for transition to renewable energy. A common criticism of onshore solar power is the loss of arable land for food production. Instead, solar arrays could occupy the space between offshore wind turbines, where the energy-transport infrastructure is already present.
Allard van Hoeken, the CEO of Oceans of Energy, said about the technology.
“With offshore solar added to offshore wind it is possible to also produce energy on sunny but less windy days and hence increase the utilization of the offshore power grid infrastructure. The solar panels will be situated in-between the offshore wind turbines, an efficient way of sharing the sea space.”
In addition to making gear oil and grease for the wind power sector, Shell has its own renewable power projects in the pipeline, so the lessons learned at HKN could be applied to Shell’s UK wind farms in future.
The wave-riding technology of Oceans of Energy works similarly to how a water lily rests on the surface of the water. A 0.5 MW demonstration installation has been in operation since 2019. Since then, it has regularly endured heavy storms, including during the bomb cyclone caused by Storm Ciara, when waves reached up to 10 metres high.