February 25, 2010
European shipyards seek aid for offshore wind vessel construction
The Community of European Shipyards' Association (CESA) and the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) are calling on the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support the building of new ships to serve the offshore wind energy market.
The plea comes within weeks of news that RWE Innogy, a unit of German power utility RWE AG, had awarded Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd, (DSME) a contract to build a Euro 100 million offshore wind farm construction vessel with options for two more. The first ship should be completed in 2011.
The two associations want the European Commission to develop programs and funding mechanisms to ensure that a sufficient number of installation vessels are available to the offshore wind industry. They want the European Investment Bank to take the necessary measures to support the risk related to the necessary significant investments. They also argue that the offshore wind power industry should be identified as a key industry in the EU's 2020 strategy for smart, green growth.
Investments in new ships totaling Euros 2.4 billion are needed for the predicted growth of offshore wind. By 2020, the installation of thousands of offshore wind turbines, as well as the necessary substructures and cables, is foreseen.
"From 2020 we will see 40,000 MW per year built offshore" said Eddie O'Connor, founder and CEO of Mainstream Renewables and EWEA Secretary. "This will require ten to twelve new heavy lift vessels, other vessels for transporting foundations, towers, nacelles and blading systems. New ports will have to be built across Europe."
"European shipyards provide the necessary engineering power to develop innovative solutions for dedicated offshore equipment" Reinhard Lüken, Secretary General of CESA said. "Together European industry holds unique capabilities to drive fast growth towards the green revolution of sustainable energy production."
"Offshore wind power provides the answer to Europe's energy and climate dilemma - exploiting an abundant energy resource which does not emit greenhouse gases, reduces dependence on increasingly costly fuel imports, creates thousands of jobs and provides large quantities of indigenous, affordable electricity," Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of EWEA said.
The offshore wind industry currently employs 19,000 people, a level which is expected to rise to 156,000 jobs by 2020.
The call was made at a meeting in Brussels chaired by O'Connor and Lüken bringing together the wind industry, the European shipyard industry and officials from the European Commission and European Investment Bank. It will be followed by further collaboration between the two associations and their members in order to support the European institutions in taking appropriate action.