When heavy hitters comprising five of the top offshore OEMs come together for a chat, the wind power world listens. Answering questions from moderator Ed Weston of the Great Lakes Wind Network were Steve Cuevas of AREVA Renewables, Frederic Hendrick ofAlstom, Vestas’s Scott Keating, Siemens Wind Energy’s Thomas Mousten and Javier Perera of Gamesa.
One of the hot topics on Wednesday’s panel was how long it would take for an offshore wind power supply chain, and the accompanying jobs, to get established. The consensus: establishing a supply chain won’t necessarily take too long, but it won’t begin to grow roots until offshore projects start going in. "When these actually start to get constructed—that’s when this supply chain will start to move," said Keating, echoing the sentiments of several others. Or, as Cuevas said, "I don’t think we believe in the Field of Dreams philosophy of if you build it, they will come." Echoing the sentiments often heard among industry members talking about land-based wind power, panelists said that there must be a market for the product in order for economic activity to start moving. That, they say, requires a commitment at the federal level taking the form of stable policy.
Panelists also drilled down into technical aspects of the business. Turbines will continue to get bigger, they generally said, particularly because of the expense that goes with deploying each individual turbine.
With the 2011 turbine manufacturers panel now history, Offshore WINDPOWER attendees, which had totaled over 1,400 as of the end of yesterday, turn their attention today to the other side of the supplier-customer equation. In the event’s closing general session (3 p.m., Ballroom 2), the companies that hopefully will be buying offshore wind turbines very soon, the project developers, will provide their perspective on the industry.