Over 300 senior offshore wind industry figures gathered in Glasgow and Shanghai for the launch of DNV GL’s landmark report, “Project FORCE: Offshore wind cost reduction through integrated design”. Offshore wind costs must come down. Much has been written about this topic over the last few years and some progress has been made by industry. But the cost of energy produced from offshore wind is still around 50% higher than its onshore cousin. Costs represent an existential threat to the future of offshore wind and must be addressed urgently.
DNV GL’s Project FORCE (FOr Reduced Cost of Energy) identifies cost of energy savings of at least 10% that can be achieved by the integration of four market-ready technologies – all of which could be realised in the next few years. Cost savings of 10% equate to a conservative estimate of over €1Bn in NPV terms over the next decade if most projects constructed from 2018 benefit from this innovation.
Project FORCE brought together a world-leading wind turbine design team tasked with completing a detailed study, revealing the magnitude of the potential savings from a ‘joined-up’ approach to the design engineering of large offshore wind turbines and their support structures. The four technologies proposed by DNV GL are all market ready and could be deployed quickly. They represent just one cost reduction opportunity in a specific area of the system: the wind turbine and foundation.
Collaboration is key
Whilst the FORCE approach represents the “purist engineer’s” view, we are not naïve to commercial reality. To unlock these benefits and other additional cost saving potential, a sea-change is required in the industry’s approach to engineering, design and procurement. DNV GL advocates a collaborative approach in order address the misalignment of design-risk with cost-saving reward which is currently blocking the innovations proposed by project FORCE.
To remove these barriers, a rapid maturation of industry practice is needed. This means the adoption of an integrated and collaborative approach to design, engineering and procurement. If we achieve this, then perhaps we will start to build and operate offshore wind power stations rather than collections of offshore wind turbines.
DNV GL believes that a Joint Industry Project (JIP) offers the greatest potential to unlocking the cost-reducing power of an integrated and collaborative approach to design, engineering and procurement in offshore wind. In offshore wind and other sectors we have shown how JIPs can be an effective vehicle for helping industries mature. The recently published “CableRisk” guideline is just one such example. DNV GL invites any expressions of interest in a Joint Industry Project (JIP) to accelerate such a transition.
Ultimately, whichever path our offshore wind industry takes, healthy levels of collaboration are as important as healthy levels of competition. Whilst we have made significant progress on the latter over the last few years, it is now time that we start acting like a mature industry – embracing both collaboration and integration.