Solar and wind technologies
Solar and wind power are playing a growing part in meeting global energy demand. At Shell, we expect an emerging low-carbon energy system to include traditional fuels such as oil and natural gas alongside renewable energy and carbon capture and storage.
Shell has been involved in wind power for more than a decade. We have interests in eight operational wind power projects in North America and one in Europe. Our share of the energy capacity from these projects is about 500 megawatts. When designing the European wind farm, we used our experience with oil and gas platforms to ensure it could withstand the harsh North Sea conditions. STV has invested in 2-B Energy, a renewable energy company, to support its two-blade turbine wind technology and reduce the cost of offshore wind power. (See Research and development).
We are also exploring the possibilities offered by solar power. Petroleum Development Oman (PDO, Shell interest 34%) uses technology developed by GlassPoint Solar – a company in which Shell has invested – to reduce energy consumption within its operations. GlassPoint uses solar power to generate steam which is, in turn, injected into wells to enhance the recovery of oil.
PDO and GlassPoint are constructing a solar thermal steam plant in Oman, called Project Miraah. Once completed in 2020, Miraah will be the world’s largest solar thermal steam plant, providing about a third of the Amal oilfield’s steam requirements. It will potentially be capable of producing up to 1 gigawatt of power. This solar technology will replace gas-fired steam generation and free the gas for other uses, to reduce the CO2 intensity of the oil production. We are looking at further opportunities to deploy both steam and power using photovoltaic systems on an industrial scale at oilfields in the Middle East and California.
We also use renewable energy in our own operations. This can result in significant cost and CO2 savings. For example, in Pakistan we installed a 100 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at our fuel depot in Karachi, generating around 170 megawatt-hours of power each year. This helps reduce diesel consumption for back-up power generation.