Global offshore wind power suddenly encounters new "bottleneck"

2021-01-12 13:41:43 en-admin 25

Key  words:Global offshore wind power; wind power bottleneck; wind power construction

Supply of construction ships exceeds supply

According to statistics from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in 2020, new global wind power installed capacity is expected to exceed 70 GW for the first time, setting a record high. At the same time, after 2021, offshore wind power will become the main driving force for new wind power installations in various countries.Resta Energy pointed out in its report that according to previous developments, in the first 10 years of the 21st century, the development of the global offshore wind power industry should be relatively slow, so the offshore construction ship market is relatively adequate. However, in 2020, many countries around the world set the "green energy transition" as the focus of future economic development, leading to a sudden increase in the number of offshore wind power projects under construction and to be built, making the offshore wind power construction vessel market "unprepared" for a while.

According to Frederik Colban-Andersen, director of the marine renewable energy business unit of Clarksons Platou AS, a shipbroker, the number of newly added offshore wind turbines worldwide will rise from 600 to about 1,000 annually during 2020-2023, an increase of 67%, but During this period, the number of global offshore wind power construction ships only increased by about 44%. Resta Energy’s report shows that at present, the global offshore wind power construction vessel can complete the hoisting of an offshore wind turbine in an average of 3-4 days. Given the average scale of offshore wind power projects, the operation cycle of the offshore wind power construction vessel usually lasts several times. As a result, the supply of construction ships on the market often exceeds demand, and it often needs to be booked several months in advance. According to data, as of the end of 2020, the lease price of offshore wind power construction vessels in Europe has reached hundreds of thousands of euros per day and is showing an upward trend. In China, as the wind power industry is in the "rush to install period", many people in the industry have disclosed that in 2020, offshore wind power construction vessels will also be in short supply, and construction prices will remain high.

"Big fan" brings new challenges

The shortage of construction ships is not the only problem encountered by offshore wind power. Statistics show that in 2005, the average single-unit capacity of offshore wind turbines worldwide was only 3 MW; but since 2014, offshore wind power in Europe and other places has accelerated into the era of "big wind turbines", and the single-unit capacity of offshore wind turbines has increased year by year. In 2022, the average single-machine capacity is expected to climb to 6.1 MW. 

Under the development trend of “larger and larger” offshore wind turbines, the maritime transportation and installation of super-large wind turbines has also become a bigger problem. 

It is understood that most of the world's major wind power complete machine manufacturers have started the research and development of large-megawatt units, and the large-scale production of offshore wind turbines of more than 10 megawatts is not far away. Up to now, the length of the Haliade-X 12 MW wind turbine developed by General Electric (GE) has reached 107 meters.

However, data shows that currently only four offshore wind power construction vessels worldwide can complete the installation of this wind turbine. It is understood that this model of wind turbine will begin mass production in 2021, and the installation demand is imminent.Wind Europe, a European wind power industry organization, has issued a forecast that at least 10 new offshore wind power construction vessels are needed globally to meet the installation needs of existing projects.

In addition, the demand for new heavy-duty floating construction vessels used in deep water areas will continue to grow. Resta Energy analysis believes that from the current market situation, a large part of the current offshore wind power construction vessels in the world come from the oil and gas industry. Previously, they were engaged in the installation and disassembly of offshore oil and gas platforms, which is more favorable for the offshore lifting of heavy equipment. However, it is insufficient in terms of flexibility, and it is difficult to meet the continuous and rapid movement of wind turbines installed offshore. The industry's cost reduction is "depressed" In addition, data shows that during the construction of offshore wind farms, wind turbine installation costs account for 20%-30% of the total capital expenditure. Taking an offshore wind farm with a total installed capacity of 1 GW and 100 wind turbines as an example, the construction cost can usually be as high as 800 million to 1 billion US dollars. 

According to Alexander Flotre, product manager of the offshore wind power field of Resta Energy, starting from 2025, the shortage of heavy lifting vessels is likely to become the main bottleneck restricting the development of the offshore wind power industry, and the overall cost reduction rate of offshore wind power is likely to be dragged down by this. “In the future, the offshore wind power construction vessel will not only be used for the initial installation of wind farm construction, but also will be used in the later operation and maintenance of the project and periodic replacement of equipment. The demand for the offshore wind power industry will become more and more diversified in the future. " With the rapid development of the offshore wind power construction ship market, some shipbuilding companies have "smelted" the opportunity and started ship transformation work. In 2020, European offshore vessel operator Esvagt announced that it will shift its business focus from the oil and gas field to offshore wind power, and will also pay more attention to the cultivation of talents in the field of offshore wind power installation. Another shipping company, Scorpio Bulkers, also announced that it will order a large offshore wind power construction vessel with a total cost of between 265 million and 290 million US dollars, and complete delivery in 2023. 

However, in the view of industry insiders, the innovation speed of the shipbuilding industry still needs to be greatly improved to keep up with the pace of equipment replacement in the wind power field in Shanghai.

The picture and text are from the North Star Wind Power Network

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