Shell: Offshore Wind Industry Should Evolve Towards 10GW Integrated Projects

The offshore wind industry should abandon the practice of awarding separate leases for offshore wind farms of up to 1GW each and instead start developing large, integrated projects of up to 10GW to lower cost, create value across the supply chain, and stimulate economic growth, Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President, New Energies, Shell Gas and Power Development B.V., said.

It is important for the innovations – technical, commercial and financial – to be tried and tested before going large scale, and that will not happen if the industry continues with power plant-sized leases, Gainsborough said in his speech during the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 in London.

Instead, a few large, integrated projects with an anchor tenant who takes the biggest risk for about half the project, need to be developed, according to Gainsborough.

Substantial cost savings could be achieved by constructing several hundred wind turbines continuously, like an offshore assembly line, which would allow the industry to learn how to do offshore wind at scale to optimize value for all participants.

Gainsborough also noted that large-scale offshore wind projects will need support from governments, businesses and society in the form of cross-border regulatory and legal solutions and cross-sector collaboration on an unprecedented scale.

He identified market scale and visibility as the key elements that developers need to reduce their risk.

”We need a long-term, predictable agenda for the roll-out of offshore wind at scale. If that is in place, companies across the supply chain will invest in facilities and in jobs. This includes spatial planning across national borders, where the interests of many stakeholders will need to be balanced on behalf of society,” Gainsborough said.

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