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Bid to put wind energy at the heart of Rotterdam

Release date:
27 July 2022
With offshore wind power, we can decarbonize industry, electrify mobility and much, much more. Read on for how our bids in the Netherlands could put this renewable energy at the centre of a powerful, digital-rich integrated energy system of the future 
 
🕒 5 min read | 📖 Feature

There’s a saying in Rotterdam: “Geen woorden, maar daden.” Translated, it means “actions say more than words” and it reflects the hands-on attitude of this vibrant, multicultural seaport. In other words, the city and its people like to get things done. 


A glance at Rotterdam’s history quickly reveals this motto in action. From the huge post-war infrastructure programme, to the more recent construction of the world’s largest floating building that rises with the harbour tides to address the impact of climate change. Indeed, Rotterdam is a city with a reputation for reinvention in the face of challenge. Now, this coastal powerhouse is at it again, with big ambitions to become a zero-emission port by 2050. 


bp is ready to help the Rotterdam region and the Netherlands as a whole take important steps towards realizing their low carbon ambitions. 


That’s where our two offshore wind bids come in.  

“Delivering a net zero future is about much more than just generating renewable power offshore. It’s about creating an integrated energy system with renewables at its heart.” 

 

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, bp’s executive vice president of gas and low carbon energy

Integrating energy systems

If successful with our bid for HKW Site VII, bp will build and operate a major project integrating the potential combined 1.4GW of offshore wind generating capacity with a series of additional clean energy investments in the Netherlands of up to €2 billion. 


At our refinery, for example, we have plans for new facilities to make around 50,000 tonnes of green hydrogen every year, meeting the refinery’s energy demands and supporting the production of sustainable aviation fuel. We’d also install a new e-boiler to remove more emissions.


We aim to take this wind to the wheel, with plans to deploy 80 new flexible electric vehicle charging stations with battery storage, and to install 99 forecourt battery-built-in electric chargers and two logistics hubs in the Rotterdam region. In addition to the EV hardware, we’ll add digital and artificial intelligence tools to help match supply of energy with the demand by, for example, encouraging customers and businesses to charge when it is windy. 


“Our whole strategy is about using our skills, technology and experience to create integrated solutions that increase the quantity of lower-carbon energy available within the wider system,” says Anja-Isabel. “These bids are all about reimagining the way we use our existing assets and strengths to help Rotterdam achieve its ambitions.”

 

They would also add to the growing portfolio of low carbon energy projects in the Netherlands – including our partnership with leading hydrogen company HyCC to develop H2-Fifty, a 250MW green hydrogen plant at the Port of Rotterdam.

Local champion

Karen De Lathouder, chief executive of bp Netherlands, agrees. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she is incredibly passionate about the impact that winning these bids could have on the local area. “This is a local partnership developed in Rotterdam for Rotterdam,” she explains. “That’s a really exciting prospect.”

 

bp has been operating in Rotterdam for more than 50 years, finding innovative ways to turn crude oil into essential fuel supplies at our refinery. And for the past five years, we’ve been upgrading and adapting our existing infrastructure to make sure we’re ready to process lower-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen and biofuels. 


“I think a lot of people still associate bp with traditional heavy industry,” says Karen. “But we’re changing and we’re ambitious in our own net zero goals. Winning bids for projects like HKW is essential to realize that ambition. Only then can we demonstrate – through actions, not words – that we have the expertise, facilities and passion to help create new, more sustainable sources of energy for cities and regions like Rotterdam and the Netherlands.” 

Eco innovation

Our proposal for HKW Site VI includes creating a project that aims to demonstrate a step-change in eco-innovation in the southern North Sea, which is home to some of Europe’s richest populations of fish, seabirds and marine mammals. 


As part of this bid, we’re committed to investing nearly €75 million in a new eco-innovation hub that would use the latest technology to monitor bird and bat flight paths to avoid collisions with turbines. We will also use cutting-edge sensor and data analytics technology to monitor and manage our noise levels on North Sea mammals. And we’ll install monitoring systems that track chemical and biological data to measure the impact of offshore wind farms on the ecosystem.


The ecological work will be supported by bp’s supercomputing technology, with partners gaining access to our Center for High-Performing Computing (CHPC) in Houston. The CHPC supports digital innovation across bp to help us work faster and safer, and can provide valuable computing power to the HKW sites. And it’s a lot of power: the CHPC can perform 21 quadrillion operations per second. To translate, it can complete in one hour a problem that would take a laptop nine years. It also has enormous storage capacity, equivalent to 90,000 512-gigabyte iPhones, or more than 3,000 times the amount of information in the US Library of Congress – the world’s largest library.  

Digital twin for the win

Innovation is essential when it comes to developing new sources of sustainable energy, and, unsurprisingly, the government of the Netherlands has placed significant emphasis on the topic as part of the HKW bid process. 

Our digital team has big ideas on how to use big data to create more efficient, integrated energy systems. If our bids are chosen, we’ll use our experience in creating ‘digital twins’ (exact computer-generated replicas) of our oil and gas assets to create a digital model of all the physical assets, including the offshore wind farm. These models will be accessible via a digital energy platform to stakeholders across the value chain, including production, consumption and academia. 

Our digital solution is an ambitious project that aims to replicate at scale (1/20th) the current demand on the Dutch power market.  Integrating digital, physical and commercial assets would be an important first step towards smarter energy management, with data from energy market players, transmitters and end consumers brought together in one place. The result? Smarter energy decisions to match the demand for power with HKW supply.

“Digitalization is front and centre of our integrated energy system offer,” says Yorik Tisseau, business development originator in offshore wind and a member of the project team. “Each constituent part of an energy system is understood – we can do hydrogen, electric vehicle charging, and make sustainable fuels – but the magic really happens when data is unlocked for the design and optimization of the whole integrated energy system and to foster further innovation and partnerships in the future. 

“At bp, we believe a successful integrated energy system will require an open and collaborative approach – one that we have deeply embedded throughout these bids.” 

Meet the bid team: Cristina Ayala 

It’s fair to say that Cristina Ayala is driven by a strong sense of purpose. As an engineer, there is nothing she loves more than solving problems and, throughout her career in refining and energy supply, she always looked for the projects that help to increase sustainable use of resources and improve energy efficiency. 


But in September 2021, she realized a long-held ambition – to work in renewables. Cristina is a member of bp’s 250-strong HKW bid team, and over the past eight months, she helped to create a vision for an integrated energy system with renewables at its heart.
Working with experts from bp across mobility, cities and venturing, as well as digital science and other engineers, has opened Cristina’s eyes to how much bp can achieve when everyone has a common goal. 

 

“Joining the bid team has been such a rewarding experience,” she explains. “I’m part of a big multi-disciplinary team, but if we’re successful in winning these permits, then the personal impact I have had here is orders of magnitude larger than anything else I’ve experienced in my career.

 

“I think that shows the strength of bp. It’s been an incredible few months, with some long hours, but I am proud of our proposals and what we’ve achieved together in a very short space of time.”

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