Ten Most Read News on OffshoreWIND.biz in 2023

Updates on wind turbine technology and new offshore wind projects, including those facing major challenges, marked 2023 on offshoreWIND.biz. In the article below, we have compiled our ten most-read news last year, together with some of their related updates and stories.

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In February 2023, Vestas revealed plans to scale up a new chemical process that allows for epoxy-based blades to be broken down into raw materials which can then be reused to make new wind turbine blades.

A few months later, the wind turbine manufacturer signed up its first customer who will use recycled blades made using the newly developed process on future offshore wind farms, its compatriot and the world’s largest offshore wind developer, Ørsted.

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With the global macroeconomic conditions putting the offshore wind industry under pressure, several developers announced they were pausing, cancelling, and/or rethinking their projects.

BP and Equinor were among those who requested to renegotiate their power purchase agreements (PPAs) for projects in the USA. In August 2023, the partners said they did not plan on developing their joint projects off New York unless they met the ”return thresholds of 6% to 8%”.

In October, the New York State Public Service Commission rejected requests to amend the strike prices in the PPAs.

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The challenges the offshore wind industry is facing have brought some projects in Europe into question, too. In July 2023, Vattenfall said the company had stopped the development of the 1.4 GW Norfolk Boreas offshore wind project in the UK and that it would review the way forward for the entire 4.2 GW Norfolk Zone.

In December 2023, Vattenfall and RWE announced that RWE was acquiring the Norfolk portfolio. The German company said it would restart the development of Norfolk Boreas and bid in the upcoming UK auctions with the two Norfolk Vanguard projects.

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In its home country, Vattenfall received a rejection of its application to build an offshore wind farm offshore Halmstad, off Sweden’s west coast. The Swedish government cited ”negative effects on the environment” and ”national interests” as the reasons for the decision to not grant Vattenfall permission to build and operate the project.

The project was planned to be built on the Stora Middelgrund offshore bank in the southern Kattegatt in the Swedish economic zone, outside the territorial border.

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Still, Vattenfall marked a successful year for the global offshore wind sector as the company completed and commissioned currently the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm.

In the summer of 2023, the last turbine was installed at the 1.5 GW Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm offshore the Netherlands. Over the next couple of months, the turbines were commissioned and tested, and Hollandse Kust Zuid was inaugurated in September 2023.

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The Swedish developer also made our most-read list with the news from February 2023, when Vattenfall reported findings of a study into seabird behaviour that the company conducted at the Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm, also known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

The study, which Vattenfall performed in collaboration with bird and nature protection organisations, involved video-recording seabirds that were flying near the wind turbines over the course of two years. After obtaining more than 10,000 videos of birds at the 11-turbine offshore wind farm, at the beginning of 2023, the developer and its research partners reported that no collisions or near-misses with the wind turbines were recorded.

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Back to ‘world’s largest’, 2023 also saw the first wind turbines installed at Dogger Bank A, the first of the three phases of the UK’s 3.6 GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the world’s biggest offshore wind farm under construction.

The first wind turbine was in place on 29 August and the wind farm produced its first power in October.

The first two 1.2 GW phases, Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B, will comprise 95 Haliade-X 13 MW turbines each. The third phase, Dogger Bank C, is planned to feature 87 Haliade-X 14 MW turbines and could comprise GE’s Haliade-X model optimised for a 14.7 MW output, for which the wind turbine manufacturer received type certification in December 2022.

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GE is also developing an 18 MW version of the Haliade-X platform, as shared during an investors’ call in March 2023.

In December, when Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) selected three consortia in the country’s second round of offshore wind auctions, GE’s 18 MW Haliade-X emerged as a preferred wind turbine model for one of the selected projects.

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The two other projects are planned to feature Vestas’s V236-15 MW, which also climbed our 2023 most-read news list as the prototype installed at the Østerild National Test Centre for large wind turbines in Denmark set a world record for the most power output by a single wind turbine in a 24-hour period in August last year.

Vestas’s new wind turbine, which has been already chosen for several new offshore wind projects worldwide, received type certification at the end of 2023.

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Among our top-read news in 2023 is also an incident that occurred in Germany in April 2023, when one of the turbines at the Gode Wind 1 offshore wind farm was hit by a cargo vessel.

In May, Ørsted confirmed to offshoreWIND.biz that the wind turbine was put back into service around 24 hours after being taken out of operation for inspection. According to reports by German media, the vessel, which sustained major damage, was on autopilot and sailing off course before it crashed into the wind turbine.

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