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World's First Offshore Wind Battery Installed at Floating Farm

Renewable Energy

A revolutionary battery has been successfully installed at the Hywind Scotland, the world's first floating offshore wind farm located about 15 miles off the Aberdeenshire coast.

With the 1.2-megawatt storage system known as "Batwind" in operation, it will be possible for the first time to store energy produced from an offshore wind farm, developers Masdar and Equinor touted in a press release Wednesday.


As EcoWatch mentioned previously, if we want to accelerate the world's renewable energy transition, we're going to need much better batteries. Energy storage is crucial to mitigating intermittency and optimizing output. In other words, when there's too much or too little wind, batteries can help store or release energy.

"The variability of renewable energy can to a certain extent be managed by the grid," said Sebastian Bringsvaerd, development manager for Hywind and Batwind in a statement. "But to make renewable energy more competitive and integrate even more renewables to the grid, we will need to find new, smart solutions for energy storage to provide firm power. How to do this in a smart and value creating way is what we are aiming to learn from Batwind."

Batwind is located on an onshore substation in Peterhead that's connected to the grid. Testing of the new technology will begin soon.

"We want to teach the battery when to hold back and store electricity, and when send power to the grid, thus increasing value of the power," Bringsvaerd said. "It will be really exciting to see how we can develop the combined battery and software solution and make Batwind as smart as possible."

Bringsvaerd noted that Batwind can one day be utilized for other renewable energy systems such as solar and onshore wind.

"We believe this will expand the market for all renewable energy sources," he said.

The 30-megawatt Hywind Scotland switched on last October. Three months later, the facility was already performing better than expected. The floating wind farm churned out 65 percent of its maximum theoretical capacity during November, December and January, according to Statoil.

The Hywind's five floating turbines produce 6 megawatts each on top of waters more than 328 feet deep. At full capacity, the facility can generate enough power for 20,000 homes.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

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At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.