The big wave of work from renewables is not far off, the question is how far away?
Given the timetable for the deployment of wind- farms to meet the Government’s commitment for environmental targets, we should expect the level of activity to increase almost exponentially from current levels in the near future.
However, regardless of ambitious renewables targets, particularly the Government, wind developers and the supply chain must get a grip on what can realistically be delivered – even if it means readjustments … rescheduling.
Independent research has determined that in the UK alone between 12,000 and 16,000 vessels days (equivalent to 5-7 vessels) would be required to install the more than 9,000km of cable needed in offshore wind Round 3 licences over the next few years.
Similarly, between 25,000 to 40,000 vessels days (10-16 vessels) would be required to install the foundations and the turbines.
The accuracy of such estimates hinges on the overall pace of development of the industry, notably turbine size, associated technologies development and when Round 3 wind projects reach the build stage.
In Aberdeen, there is space for oil and gas to get involved. Both industries operate on the same marine stage and regardless of the end-use of the structure, both industries get wet and wobbly during deployment.
But will the companies that are currently focused on oil and gas expand to offshore renewables?’ There is no short answer to this as it depends on each company’s strategy. However, I think they would all consider three basic but important aspects, currently all of which have a positive outlook – adaptability of vessels for offshore windfarms, the commercial practicality of adapting the vessels to operate in the renewable sector and the financial acceptability of incurring the costs and risks of expanding into a new market. The expected high vessel demand in the near future could combine these three factors to make it a compelling case.
For sure, Aberdeen is full of people with the vision and talent needed to transform an opportunity into a successful venture.