The offshore wind industry in the North Sea Region (NSR) is at a turning point, with the first large scale offshore wind farms being built over the next couple of years, and the industry still having to overcome substantial challenges to effect delivery. While it is clear that there is a degree of competition between the POWER cluster regions, there is a clear benefit in establishing a real offshore wind cluster with close relationships between the companies in the different regions, both for the economic regeneration of the regions involved, and for confirming the NSR as the global leader in the offshore wind industry.
According to studies conducted by Douglas-Westwood Ltd. towards the end of the Interreg IIIB Pushing Offshore Wind Energy Regions (POWER) project; “The POWER region is the world leader in offshore wind…this is not enough to ensure the successful development of offshore wind projects in the region. Actions must be taken to increase knowledge and build relationships between individual regions and the companies in them. Also there is a need to gain a more thorough understanding of actual supply chain capabilities throughout the POWER cluster region in order to be able to compete on a global scale”.
The offshore wind supply chain is complementary to, and in competition with, the assets of other marine sectors, in particular the oil and gas industry. It is important to develop a better understanding of the sensitivities of the growing OWI in such a high cost supply chain. In addition, the OWI could learn a substantial amount from the experiences made in oil and gas industries, and vice versa.
A key bottleneck for further OWE developments is considered to be grid capacity and challenges relating to the North Sea grid.
Specific WP2 objectives are:
Turning contacts into contracts: Creating a business platform by matching supply chain capabilities of the partner regions, to foster the offshore wind industry in the North Sea Region
Identification and evaluation of North Sea grid reinforcement/investment: Overcoming challenges in grid issues for offshore wind