As we said our goodbyes to 2020, a lot of us will look back on a challenging year, but also a year which drew resilience, agility and the power of powering through into the spotlight.
The same goes for the offshore wind industry, which met its fair share of challenges, but continued delivering in the sector which not only kept its pace, but gained even more momentum than we might have expected.
Updates on new and existing projects, technology and novel energy systems, governmental decisions and national policies, and bigger ambitions across all fields in the sector marked 2020.
Among many headlines that our editorial team would like to list here, we are brining you a short, and somewhat subjective, selection of our 2020 news:
In December 2020, GE Renewable Energy secured a preferred turbine supplier contract for the third phase of the Dogger Bank offshore wind project, which will feature GE’s Haliade-X turbines with an output of 14 MW each and mark the first time this turbine is installed at any project worldwide. The 14 MW Haliade-X is an upscaled version of the 13 MW unit which will be installed at Dogger Bank A & B.
In autumn, the 12 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project, the first in U.S. federal waters, fulfilled requirements to enter commercial service. The project will provide the operational, weather, and environmental experience needed for the 2.6 GW development in the adjacent site, for which the developer Dominion Energy submitted a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in December.
The fabrication work for the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Tampen, started at Kværner Stord in Norway in autumn 2020. The company is producing eleven floating concrete hulls for the Siemens Gamesa 8 MW turbines that will make up the 88 MW floating wind farm. Hywind Tampen will be the first floating offshore wind project to supply renewable power for oil and gas installations. The wind farm, set to be put into operation in 2022, is expected to cover about 35 percent of the annual power needs on the five platforms Snorre A and B and Gullfaks A, B and C, and reduce emissions from the Gullfaks and Snorre fields by more than 200,000 tonnes per year.
The Danish government announced in November that it had identified areas in the North and Baltic Seas for the development of energy islands, following the approval of two energy island projects, one in the North Sea and one in the Baltic Sea, in June. The two approved energy island projects have a combined capacity of 5 GW, and both must be completed and connected to other countries’ grids by 2030.
The European Commission presented the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy on 19 November, setting a target for 300 GW of offshore wind by 2050 and 40 GW for ocean energy and other emerging technologies, with the latter potentially further adding to the installed capacity of wind energy at sea, as the Commission included floating wind in this part of the plans. According to the strategy, having at least 60 GW of offshore wind and 1 GW of ocean energy by 2030, and 300 GW of offshore wind and 40 GW of ocean energy by 2050 is realistic and achievable.
In October, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced commitments to ensure that offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity usage, boosting the government’s previous 30 GW target to 40 GW. The commitments, part of the Build Back Greener initiative, also include creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1 GW of energy by 2030, and setting a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open later this year.
On 27 November, the government of Japan launched the country’s first-ever auction for fixed-bottom offshore wind projects within the General Common Sea Area. The auction covers four offshore wind zones: three zones are located off Akita Prefecture and one is situated off Chiba Prefecture. The tender will remain open until 27 May 2021.