Offshore wind isn’t without risks

Statoil Hywind floating turbine Hywind, off the north coast of Scotland, is the world's first utility-scale floating project

The rise of offshore wind energy is accompanied by risks, an industry analyst has warned.

Jonny Allen, head of offshore wind at GCube Underwriting, said that wind energy has created demand for maritime services and boosted supply chain development, but the risk landscape has been changed significantly by factors such as steeply falling costs, increasing turbine sizes, and the development of floating technology.

He stressed: “The priority for the offshore wind sector – including developers, vessel operators, investors and insurers – must now be to ensure sustainable growth, allowing for innovation without compromising on quality or efficiency.

“In this high-risk environment, all involved have a responsibility to collaborate and share knowledge.”

Lower prices

Mr Allen explained lower prices mean developers have to make challenging engineering and design decisions under ever narrower margins, while O&M suppliers must continue to deliver a high-quality product during boom periods, plus stand behind warranties as delivery deadlines become tighter.

Turbines with capacities reaching over 10MW offer significant cost efficiencies, but they also increase risk. The ability of one turbine to impact project finances – should it fail – is much more significant in a farm of ten 10MW turbines, than of twenty 5MW turbines, stressed Mr Allen.

The first utility-scale floating project, Hywind, off the north coast of Scotland, uses “fledgling” technology which “inevitably introduces risks,” he said

Design inconsistency

For insurers, a major challenge in floating wind is the current lack of design consistency. A lack of common standards for floating foundations or mooring technologies mean insurers must apply fixed foundation rationale to floating projects.

Mr Allen added that newer offshore wind markets in Asia may also lack the stable and experienced supply chain required to handle the unique demands of floating wind.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Latest Press Releases

MIT deliver Bespoke Exhaust Suspension System by Rubber Design for Sir David Attenborough Research Vessel

MIT has successfully delivered a bespoke exhaust suspension system to Cammell-Laird Shipbuilders in ... Read more

Damen delivers two of four ASD 3212 tugs to Smit Lamnalco

Damen has delivered two of four ASD 3212 tugs to towage and related marine services’ company Smit La... Read more

Oceanscan invests in Sonardyne acoustics

International equipment supplier Oceanscan has added underwater acoustic positioning technology from... Read more

Damen Shipyards Galati welders scoop awards at International Welding Competition

Welders from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania recently took part in the 2018 Arc Cup International ... Read more

Damen Shiprepair Brest completes maintenance programme on cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway

The 326-metre, 146,000 DWT, cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway arrived in Brest on 28 April for 11 days... Read more

Damen ASD Tug 3212 Svitzer Glenrock delivered to Svitzer Australia

Damen Shipyards Group has delivered an ASD Tug 3212 as the second part of a two-vessel order placed ... Read more

View all