- Published: 30 March 2015 30 March 2015
The Offshore Wind Business as a United Industry
Over 8,000 delegates from 54 countries were in Copenhagen this year for EWEA OFFSHORE 2015. The central theme of the event was how to bring down the levelised cost of energy. At the event, three players within the offshore wind industry (MHI-Vestas Offshore Wind, DONG Energy and Siemens Wind Power) launched an initiative and issued a joint declaration outlining the concept of a ‘United Industry’. The goal of the declaration is to inspire the industry to come together around the promise of reducing its cost of energy, which remains a top priority for the offshore wind industry. According to a study commissioned by EWEA the industry should knock down 26% of its capital and operating costs in order to become highly competitive by 2023. The study, conducted by Ernst & Young, highlights four key actions to reduce costs. First, the introduction of higher capacity turbines with better energy capture and reliability with lower operating costs could lead to as much as a 9% reduction in costs. Second, a steady project pipeline allowing continuous production of support structures would cut up to 7%. Third, greater competition between industrial actors in several key supply chain areas would lower costs by as much as 7%. And, fourth, greater supply chain optimisation and logistical integration could potentially achieve a 3% saving. The report expects the sector to be close to reducing the levelised cost of energy to €100 per megawatt-hour by 2020, by which time cumulative installed capacity in European waters is expected to have tripled to 23.5GW. The study adds that the cost could be reduced to €90/MWh by 2030, as long as a continual stream of new projects come on-line.
The industry has already started rolling out larger turbines and the first orders for these turbines have been placed by developers. MHI-Vestas has received its first commercial order for the V164-8.0 turbine, for DONG’s 258MW Burbo Bank Extension in UK waters. And Deepwater Wind has given Alstom the final go-ahead to begin manufacturing five of its 6MW Haliade 150 turbines for the Block Island offshore wind farm, which reached financial close recently.
Siemens has introduced a generator upgrade to 7MW. The new Siemens SWT-7.0-154 delivers nearly 10% more energy production than the predecessor under offshore wind conditions while retaining the same proven reliability. The new model is already set to go into series production by 2017. The 6MW version will continue to be available for sales but, following the improvements, Siemens has renamed the product platform to D7.
During the event Gamesa and Areva announced that they have created Adwen, a joint venture (JV) dedicated to offshore wind. The portfolio of the JV consists of the Adwen 8MW and 5MW platforms. The 8MW will reach serial production in 2018. The new JV aims to have a market share of at least 20% by 2020.
Offshore wind is still a European matter but a Danish company has big ambitions in the USA. AW Hawaii Wind (AWH and member of the Alpha Wind Energy (AWE) group) has submitted two lease requests for developing offshore wind energy projects sited in close proximity to the Hawaiian Islands. Each of the two projects proposes an offshore wind facility with a capacity of 408MW of renewable energy generated by 51 floating 8MW wind turbines. As well as being the biggest plan so far for the USA this is also the first time a project of this scale has been announced with floating turbines. This US$ 1.6 billion Hawaii offshore wind energy project could be operational in 2020 and we will be sure to keep you updated.