Position your business towards the UK wind market

The timing for offshore wind is good. Companies that would like to play a role within this sector are recommended to start now.

Published: 16 September 2010
More that 50 people attended the NCE Subsea and Arena NOW seminar in Bergen September 9th, where Forwind’s presented the possibilities for delivery to Dogger Bank.
 
The main attraction in the seminar was Forwind’s Supply Chain Manager presenting the technical and logistical challenge with regards to the Dogger Bank project, in addition how to best position your business towards the UK wind marked.
 
How to position your business
 
It is important to establish good contacts and business relations in the early project stages in order to be able to influence concept and design criteria for offshore wind projects. The key is to gain relevant experience in the forthcoming years to have good work reference when fighting for large contracts such as Dogger Bank.
 
Big opportunities
 
The main driver for developing offshore wind is EU’s goal to increase renewable energy to 20% by 2020. Hereby, UK has introduced an ambitious offshore wind program of 25GW installed effect by 2020 to meet the renewable commitment.
 
One of the zones awarded is Dogger Bank, the largest consented offshore wind farm project. It will be developed by Forewind, a consortium of four leading international energy companies – SSE, RWE, Statkraft and Statoil.
 
Forewind aim for an installed capacity of 9GW, though the zone has a potential for approximately 13GW amounting to around 10 per cent of total UK electricity requirements. The plan is to use 5MW or larger turbines, which will result in a substantial amount of equipment and work. In this early project phase, Forwind have main focus on turbines, high voltage DC cables and installations vessels, as these items seem to be the limiting factor when building out large fields.
 
Challenges
 
In the seminar the offshore wind sector and its supply chain was characterized as relatively immature. Added to this, experience has shown that the sector presents unique technical challenges related to multiple distributed installations, spread over much larger areas and in much larger numbers. Currently 2/3 of wind farm capacity is in water less than 20m deep. 70% of Round 3 wind farms will be in water more than 30m deep and moving towards 60m.
 
Moreover, the distance from shore in UK’s three concession rounds has increased from an average of 8, 25 to 65km. Dogger Bank is as far as 125-290km offshore. This poses new challenge with respect to logistics and offshore operations that must be addressed through innovation, research and development efforts. The growing industry has a lot to learn giving room for new establishments and old consultation.
 
Offshore and subsea experience transfer

The offshore oil and gas experience is substantial in countries like Norway; even so the offshore wind market is skeptical to the sector’s high cost levels. The aim for offshore wind is a cost reduction from today down by 40%. Most reductions are expected to come from the supplier industry through presenting simple and lean solutions that are cost efficient, especially with respect to operational cost. Standardization, mass production and efficient installation will be key element for building an offshore wind industry, and key advantage from the oil and gas industry could be the ability to deliver complete and integrate solutions. Moreover, such suppliers can transfer high HSE standard, QA and risk mitigation efforts.
 
Way forward