Norway preparing to expand its offshore wind energy supply chain

This week WindEurope attended the Offshore Wind Days 2019 conference in Oslo. Organised by Norwegian Energy Partners, this event gives global participants two days to discuss and analyse offshore wind market developments and supply chain challenges both in Europe and beyond.

Day 1 set the scene for offshore wind on both a European and global scale, with particular focus on the supply chain side. Day 2 focused on floating offshore wind and the steps needed to fully unlock its vast commercial potential.

Norway has extremely good wind resources. With a well-established and highly-trained oil & gas industry already in place, Norway is now looking into the potential of offshore wind to provide clean electricity in the future and to develop its offshore wind supply chain.

In particular, the government has expressed interest in floating wind energy. Due to Norway’s deep waters, floating wind energy holds great potential for the country. While opening the conference, Norwegian Deputy Minister for Petroleum and Energy Mr. Rikard Gaarder Knutsen stated that Norway is now looking into the allocation of two different sites for floating wind energy.

Discussion of offshore wind was not restricted to Norway. Asia and the USA are rapidly moving towards developing offshore wind energy, including floating. European companies are already looking at those markets.

WindEurope discussed these developments with the American Business Network for Offshore Wind, Recharge Magazine and China General Nuclear Power Corporation New Energy Holding.

During the discussion, WindEurope stressed that Europe has all the right criteria to further develop it offshore industry locally. Right now, it’s crucial that Europe addresses its most significant offshore challenges. These include the development of the grid infrastructure (which is fundamental to the deployment of more capacity) and ensuring offshore wind’s happy coexistence with fishing, shipping, military interests and biodiversity interests.

A fully committed pipeline of projects and stable regulatory framework are both key elements to provide the right visibility to allow Europe’s offshore sector to develop. Technological developments are clearly important but increasing turbine sizes are also presenting new challenges for vessel operators and current infrastructures, including roads and ports. The supply chain needs to be prepared to what is coming next and plan its investments accordingly.

To address these challenges, WindEurope stressed the importance of having the right political signals for offshore wind. This is what will power further development of the industry while driving costs down.

Find out more about the latest offshore wind energy developments in Europe by reading our report Offshore Wind in Europe: Key trends and statistics 2018

Read the report