Associate Feature: ScotWind - delivering a globally competitive offshore wind industry for Scotland
Offshore wind is a limitless resource in Scotland, with limitless opportunity for Scotland. The ScotWind leasing round is a pivotal milestone for the Scottish renewables industry, and particularly for the burgeoning Scottish offshore wind sector, which is expected to trigger billions of pounds of new investment later this decade.
Interest in the round has been enormous, which is unsurprising given Scotland’s commitment to clean energy and to achieving net zero by 2045, one of the most ambitious targets in the world. This pledge is matched by Scotland’s outstanding natural resources, which offer some of the best offshore wind potential to be found anywhere in the world.
ScotWind will be pivotal to unlocking this resource and delivering on Scotland’s climate change targets, as well as bringing long-term jobs and skills to communities across the country - both on the projects themselves and throughout the supply chain.
As the global leader in offshore wind with 7.6 GW installed and 30 years of experience, at Ørsted we know what it takes to deliver successful offshore wind projects and were thrilled to submit multiple bids into this landmark leasing round.
We have entered bids for a total of five projects: two floating wind-only bids as part of our partnership with BlueFloat Energy and Falck Renewables and a further three bids as Ørsted alone for sites which include a mix of bottom-fixed and floating wind farms.
Our three decades of experience and expertise in designing and delivering large-scale offshore wind projects on time and on budget is something that we are looking forward to bringing to Scotland to maximise the potential of the industry and make a major contribution to Scotland’s offshore wind target of 11GW installed by 2030.
We have seen the positive, transformative impact of our offshore wind developments around the world; providing clean, cheap energy for homes and businesses; investing in our supply chain and opening access to opportunities across the globe; and creating new jobs and skills that leave a lasting legacy in communities across the country.
In Taiwan we currently have five offshore wind projects under development, construction and in operation. Our team has been working closely with local Taiwanese enterprises and industry suppliers for a number of years to drive local supply chain development and support local suppliers to elevate their capabilities.
For example, in 2018 Ørsted signed a contract for local supplier SDMS to supply 56 jacket foundations for our Greater Changhua 1&2a projects. This was Ørsted’s largest jacket foundation contract ever and we provided technical support, knowledge transfer and funding to produce trial components to ensure SDMS fully understood the technical specifications, production requirements and Ørsted’s health and safety protocols.
Ørsted’s Greater Changhua 1&2a projects are injecting new life into Kaohsiung’s traditional steel industry and it is expected that the project will create around 2,000 job opportunities in the city.
As a result SDMS is extending its manufacturing facilities in Sing Da Harbour in Kaohsiung and around 20 local steel suppliers will work with SDMS to deliver the Ørsted contract, which will help stimulate the transition and upgrading of Kaohsiung’s local steel industry and lead to greater economic prosperity in Southern Taiwan.
Whilst in the UK, we recently celebrated the installation of our 1,000th offshore turbine, a milestone made possible through years of developing, constructing and installing offshore wind farms in varied seabed conditions.
By the end of 2021 Ørsted will have invested over £13 billion building UK offshore wind farms and by 2022 Ørsted’s offshore wind farms will be generating over seven per cent of Britain’s electricity.
It goes without saying that any company winning a lease to develop offshore wind in Scotland will need to work closely with local colleges and universities to ensure we train the next generation of technicians, engineers and project managers and also work to retrain and make the most of the huge pool of talent that already exists in the oil and gas industry. They will also need to develop meaningful partnerships to foster innovation, bolster the supply chain and aid decision making.
Ørsted has a strong history of building networks amongst universities, colleges, industry trainers and teaching partnerships to ensure local communities are equipped to shape, build and maintain renewable energy in their local area.
For instance, in a bid to further implement environmentally sustainable offshore windfarm development, Ørsted, the University of Aberdeen, the Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College and the University of the Highlands and Islands have just launched a new research project to determine where offshore wind developments should be located to better protect marine life in the future.
The three-year PREDICT project will find better ways of protecting our oceans for ScotWind projects and beyond by addressing knowledge gaps in offshore wind environmental characterisation, improving understanding of fish migration patterns and providing a vision for next-generation monitoring techniques.
Ørsted also recently became the first pureplay renewables company to join the Net Zero Technology Centre, as the organisations work together to further unlock the next generation of wind energy technologies for Scotland.
Renewable energy, and particularly wind energy, requires a substantial scale-up if it is to meet the nation’s future energy needs. Much of the technology expected to drive wind energy, in particular floating wind, is still to be developed, and ScotWind presents an opportunity for Scotland to be a global leader in this technology. ScotWind’s potential to deliver zero carbon growth and prosperity cannot be understated. We at Ørsted are primed to work in partnership with Scotland to make that potential a reality.
Duncan Clark, UK Head of Region for Ørsted, is excited about the opportunity to build a flourishing new industry in Scottish waters. “Offshore wind is one of the UK’s biggest growth industries, already employing thousands of people in highlyskilled jobs and attracting billions in investment, helping to revitalise coastal communities.
“In the short term, there are fantastic sites for large-scale bottom-fixed windfarms off the coast of Scotland, taking advantage of a technology that is well understood and that provides affordable renewable energy for homes and businesses.
“With our unrivalled experience in offshore wind developments, these bottom-fixed sites can be designed and built quickly in support of the government’s 2030 target of 11GW, and immediately begin supporting the growth of the supply chain in Scotland. At the same time, Scotland is in a great position to become a leader in the new technology of floating offshore wind.
“It will take time for this technology to come down in cost but our decades-long involvement in offshore wind development, bringing deep experience in end-to-end engineering, construction, operations, maintenance and supply chain development, will help de-risk and fast-track the floating industry. There is also huge hydrogen potential.
“The Scottish Government’s ambition to generate 5GW of renewable and low carbon hydrogen by 2030 is a very positive signal, with research suggesting that the industry could be worth up to £25 billion a year to the Scottish economy by 2045.
“We are already working with Philips66 in the Humber to develop the production of renewable hydrogen for use in their refinery. In Copenhagen, we are developing a project that will produce renewable hydrogen for use in aviation and shipping. If we get the opportunity, these are projects that we would seek to replicate.”
Case study: supporting the Scottish supply chain to develop innovative solutions. Scottish engineering innovator Pict Offshore is pioneering a new technology to make transferring technicians onto wind turbine platforms safer, simpler and more effective. Its ‘Get Up Safe’ (GUS) system is a heave-compensated personnel hoist which is transforming the way that construction, inspection and maintenance technicians access offshore wind turbines.
The problem that any maintenance crew attending turbines on an offshore platform faces is that the sea is never still. Wind turbine towers are fixed into the seabed and do not move. A vessel bringing technicians to the turbine, however, is constantly rising and falling with the movement of the sea.
Added to this, an offshore wind farm may be sited more than a hundred kilometres from the coast. With the GUS system in place, technicians can be lifted and lowered directly between a crew transfer vessel and the wind turbine platform. This removes the need for technicians to step between the bow of the vessel and the ladder - and eliminates a tiring climb, which can be up to 20 metres. The GUS systems’ active heave compensation function tracks the motion of the vessel deck and automatically adjusts the line position to ensure that transferring technicians are always kept safe, even if the vessel is moving in variable wave and weather conditions.
Ørsted has signed a multi-million pound deal with Pict Offshore to deploy the motion-compensated lifting system at the Hornsea Two offshore wind farm, which will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm on completion in 2022.
The project is the result of a 3-year collaboration between Ørsted and Pict Offshore, during which time, Ørsted has taken a minority stake in the company and Pict received support from Scottish Enterprise. Pict is now manufacturing the GUS systems at its facility in Inverkeithing, Fife, and has doubled its headcount in the past months, adding production and manufacturing capability.
Duncan Clark is UK Head of Region for Ørsted
This article was sponsored by Ørsted