How will Europe’s offshore wind energy supply chain meet growing demand?

On 24 June, WindEurope hosted its first Offshore Supply Chain Workshop. Over 60 experts gathered at the WindEurope office in Brussels to discuss the main obstacles to the rapid and optimal development of the industry in Europe.

Offshore wind power will be a key factor in the decarbonisation of the EU economy and energy system – and the offshore wind turbnes supply chain needs to be ready to face larger volumes, bigger and heavier wind turbines and new technologies.

For this reason, the workshop’s participants represented every sector of the offshore industry: ports, cable manufacturers, wind farm developers, wind turbine manufacturers, heavy lifting companies, vessels, marine contractors, health & safety, geotechnical engineering, utilities, hydraulic equipment, associations and the European Commission.

Today, offshore wind directly contributes €4.6 bn per year to the EU GDP, and already supports 40,000 jobs in Europe. And with the right planning, these figures will grow substantially in the coming years. Participants discussed how cooperation throughout the supply chain can improve the reliability, quality and safety of ports’ logistics and sea operations. They also looked at the latest technological developments and how the supply chain is preparing for their commercialisation (e.g. floating, HVDC and cables). And they discussed the challenges and obstacles faced by the supply chain as a result of the increased pace of offshore wind installations and the upscaling of wind turbine sizes.

This workshop is part of WindEurope’s overall strategy to establish and promote a closer relationship with offshore supply chain actors and prioritise current and future challenges of the offshore wind industry and its supply chain. It provides a forum to understand and identify roles, responsibilities and actions to overcome these challenges, and to prioritise topics and work streams to feed into WindEurope’s work programme and future activities.

These activities include WindEurope’s dedicated Offshore Working Group, the Ports Platform and Floating Task Force, in addition to ongoing technical workshops and the upcoming WindEurope Offshore 2019 Conference & Exhibition in Copenhagen.

European offshore wind capacity grew by 18% in 2018. Find out how by reading our report: Offshore Wind in Europe: Key trends and statistics 2018