Investing EUR 500 million to EUR 1 billion in new port infrastructure in Europe could help the offshore wind sector cut costs by up to 5.3% according to figures released by the WindEurope Ports Platform at the Global Wind Summit in Hamburg.
By 2030 Europe is expected to have installed 70 GW of offshore wind. This means there will be more than 10,000 turbines in the water. This is equivalent to a build-out rate of 6 GW per year, 20% of which will be repowering existing sites with brand new turbines, WindEurope said.
In order to enable the growth of Europe’s offshore wind capacity, ports will need to invest in upgrading, redesigning and adapting existing facilities as well as in new infrastructure. This investment would enable ports to offer efficiencies such as in more capable vessels that can complete installations faster. Or in consolidating operations, maintenance and service in dedicated port ‘hubs’.
The building out of new facilities in European ports is urgent as offshore wind turbine components get larger and installation volumes increase, according to the Platform.
But the investments are not just required for the future installation, operation and maintenance of offshore wind turbines. New port facilities are also needed to facilitate operations for the annual decommissioning of 750MW of capacity and annually recycling more than 600 turbines that have reached the end of life between now and 2030.
Following these investments in port infrastructure, the CAPEX for the installation of 30GW of offshore wind would be reduced by EUR 5.5 billion which is equivalent to a 5.3% reduction in the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE), according to WindEurope.
”We’d be keen to see new public-private partnerships and the allocation of existing EU funds to make this happen,” WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said.
The Ports Platform aims at allowing ports with active operations and interests in offshore wind to come together to share best practices and engage with industry and policy-makers with one voice. Its members are Groningen Seaports, Green Port Hull, Port of Saint-Nazaire, Port of Amsterdam, Port Atlantique La Rochelle, Port of Den Helder, Port of Esbjerg, Port of Grenaa, Port La-Nouvelle, Port of Oostende and Renewable Energy Base Oostende (REBO).
WindEurope Ports Platform Chair Wim Stubbe, Port of Oostende, said: “Ports are continuously deploying new innovations. They adapt their infrastructure to cater for ever larger components, multifunctional vessels and an increased number of activities. The WindEurope Ports Platform provides an opportunity to exchange best practices, know-how and to jointly discuss opportunities and challenges that ports face as the offshore wind industry grows. We are keen to do this at a European rather than national level.”