Carnegie receives grant to pursue offshore platform solar supply

In an unlikely partnership, Carnegie is working with Italian oil and gas ‘supermajor’ Eni and NERA to develop a PV solution for the Blacktip Wellhead gas platform in the Timor Sea. Carnegie says that if successful PV could be adopted at other “high-risk offshore environments.”

The provision of renewables to reduce carbon emissions from oil and gas platforms may appear a double-edged sword for clean energy advocates. However, there is little doubting that the deep pockets and large energy demands make supplying the sector attractive.

The Federal Government, through NERA, is providing $200,000 in funding for the project, which will be matched by industry funding.

“Until now, the use of traditional power generation has dominated offshore oil and gas facilities but this project demonstrates the possibilities and opportunities that can come from integrating renewable energy into offshore assets,” said NERA CEO Miranda Taylor in a statement.

The solar and battery system will aim to cut down on the number of ‘black starts’ the gas generators must undertake when powering the gas platform, and therefore reduce costs. It will also look to reduce the hours the ‘turbogenerators’ are required to power operations.

“We are seeing the range of applications for clean technologies extend further as their cost competitiveness and reliability continue to advance and are better understood by customers,” said Carnegie MD Michael Ottaviano. “Solar and battery systems are increasingly being considered for new applications, particularly in remote locations that are expensive and difficult to access.”

The project is not the first to deploy solar+storage to offshore oil and gas operations off the Australian coast. In December 2017, ABB announced that it was supplying a containerized PowerStore solution to the Goodwyn A platform off the WA coast. The system aimed not only to replace one of the gas turbines and reduce its gas consumption for electricity generation, but to replace a backup diesel generator.