Larger, higher efficiency turbines and the “clustering” of project resources are driving down offshore wind maintenance costs as they become increasingly important in project valuations, Tom Harries, Wind Energy Analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), said.
The demand for cable lay vessels will “pick up considerably” in the German, U.K. and Dutch offshore wind markets and remain sustained by at least decade’s end, Andy Readyhough, senior business development manager at DeepOcean, told Wind Energy Update.
The existing fleet of turbine and foundation installation vessels is well suited to serve the European offshore wind market in the short and mid-term but it will not be sufficient to support installation demand after 2020, Michael Guldbrandtsen, senior consultant at MAKE Consulting, told Wind Energy Update.
Most independent developers and utilities in Europe’s offshore wind sector are responding to new financing models and more complex projects by switching from multi-contracting to 2-3 construction contracts per project, Rob Mcabb, partner at Eversheds, told Wind Energy Update.
A competitive Dutch tender system and favorable site conditions were key to DONG Energy’s record-low bid strike price of 72.7 euros per MWh for the Borssele 1&2 offshore wind projects, but the Danish utility likely beat other bidders by revving up efforts to maximize its energy production, optimize its operating costs and by securing lower-cost financing, industry experts said.
Offshore accommodation platforms can boost turbine availability by several percent on larger wind farms and extend the reach of crew transfer vessels further offshore, industry experts told Wind Energy Update.
The planned cost of the 21 MW Icebreaker Great Lakes wind project has fallen 17% in the last two years to $125 million and generation costs are expected to be lower than the 30 MW Block Island wind farm off Rhode Island, Lorry Wagner, president of Icebreaker developer Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), said.
Deepwater’s new capacity market agreement for the Block Island wind farm highlights the range of offtake options available to offshore projects but long-term power purchase contracts will prove crucial until the technology can compete in the wholesale markets.
DONG Energy’s massive Hornsea Project One farm will set a long-standing capacity record due to state and private financing challenges and the benefits of clustering and standardization should be felt across industry, experts said.