Over many years, the oil and gas business has investigated electrification of their offshore and onshore plants due to the following reasons (among others):
- Taxation of greenhouse gas emissions that has helpe making power from shore projects financially viable
- Regulations prohibiting the use of gas turbines to drive gas compressors directly in onshore plants solidify the need to connect power hungry onshore gas plants to the national electric grid
- Requirements from political authorities that all new builds and major modifications of plants investigate electrification
Particularly in Norway, such electrification has been uncontroversial since there has been a surplus of electrical power from Norwegian hydro power plants. This situation is changing with the ongoing energy crisis although the national commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions still requires electrification of the offshore sector.
With the growing interest in and need for offshore wind comes the need for grid connection of offshore power production. Combination projects in which consumption and production of power use a common grid connection, are also possible. Most of the technical challenges and considerations are the same for electrification of offshore power consumption and grid connection of offshore power production.
We have extensive experience with grid connection processes and projects for electrification of offshore power consumption; among these, all electrification projects on the Norwegian Continental Shelf as well as several international projects.
Onshore grid regulations differ from offshore regulations. In general, the permission and licensing processes for connections of large plants to the grid are slow and may involve several parties: Local grid company, regional grid company, transmission system operator (TSO) and regulator. Several evaluations and permissions are required. In some cases, connection of new loads or plants may require installation of equipment and systems for reactive power compensation as well.
Onshore grid characteristics and technical designs differ from traditional designs of self-supporting, isolated offshore electrical power systems. Onshore grids are exposed to forces of nature and wind, ice, lightning and other natural phenomena may results in disturbances of the power supply which may affect plant operation.