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Heading for new shores: emerging markets drive global offshore wind growth

Offshore wind is all the rage right now, competing without subsidies, floating into deeper waters with new foundation designs and bigger turbines. For all its promise, however, offshore wind remains mostly a European affair, with more than 15 gigawatts of capacity installed in European waters by the end of 2017 and less than two gigawatts elsewhere. Slowly but surely the picture is beginning to change. The US, and Asian countries including Taiwan, are progressing ambitious offshore wind plans. Leading European energy companies want to benefit from this ambitious mood. PES invited Vladimir Nicolaas, innogy Head of Offshore Growth & New Business, and Chris Willow, innogy Business Development Manager Offshore Wind, to give an insight into innogy’s global offshore growth aspirations.

With more than 1,000 megawatt of installed capacity (pro rata), innogy is one of the world’s leading operators of offshore wind farms, trailblazing the industry since 2004. Together with investment partners, the company owns seven operational wind farms off the UK, German and Belgian coasts. ‘Our strong European footprint is the backbone for our global growth plans,’ Chris explained. ‘Our aim is to actively pursue and unlock opportunities worldwide,’ Vladimir added. ‘We plan to do this by entering into partnerships with both global and local partners who we can work with throughout the full lifecycle of the project, from early development through to operations – just as we already do in Europe.’

innogy has extensive experience of delivering successful energy partnerships in the European offshore wind sector. The company has completed the majority of their now operational projects within a partnering structure – including manufacturers, financial investors, banks and municipal utilities.

‘We are familiar with the wide range of different types of partnerships and have developed an excellent reputation in this area. Galloper offshore wind farm, which started full commercial operation earlier this year, is a good example: When three partners and 12 banks are convinced of the quality of the project and are willing to join us in the investment, then we’re confident that we’ve done everything right – in fact we were oversubscribed with potential investors,’ Chris stated.

innogy is very flexible in their partnerships. ‘We’re happy to deliver the development, construction and operational roles within a project. This ensures that the project is managed in a highly professional way and benefits from our experience, including valuable lessons learnt being applied. Equally we’re very happy to participate in a joint venture with a minority share and deliver our experiences through a joint delivery team, as we do at Nordsee One.’ innogy is partnering with Northland Power and Enova in this 332 megawatt project off the German coast.

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