According to Wind Europe, the largest offshore wind power capacity is in the UK (45% of all installations) and Germany (34%).
The main hub for European farms is the North Sea, home to 77% of installed capacity. High quality wind conditions and shallow waters make the North Sea an attractive project location. Other key locations include the Irish Sea and Baltic Sea.
European offshore wind energy companies lead the way globally
The leading market players are European and these pioneers have expanded globally. Key operators and asset owners include Ørsted, RWE and Vattenfall. The two leading manufacturers – Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas are also European.
Although the market for offshore wind in Europe is well established, it still has room to grow. New annual installations are expected to grow at 11-12 GW over the next five years. Falling auction costs and technological innovation increase the attractiveness of the offshore wind industry.
Several public finance institutions have sprung up to provide capital and manage risk. The European Investment Bank has provided finance and encouraged private investment as well.
The UK alone has set a target of 40 GW installed capacity and Germany is aiming for 20 GW. By comparison, the US target is 22 GW by 2030.
Figure 2: Factors driving increased investment in offshore wind
Which offshore wind jobs are in demand in Europe?
Increasing offshore wind turbine power, and project size, creates a growing demand for specialist talent.
In fact, IRENA is anticipating the number of global wind jobs to rise from 1 to 6 million between 2017-2050.
We are currently seeing a lot of demand for the following roles and skill sets.
Project Engineer (Cable & Foundation Installation)
Electrical Engineer (Cable Design)
FROSIO or NACE qualified Coatings Specialists
Contracts Managers (FIDIC)
Supply Chain & Procurement
Engineers with experience delivering floating offshore wind structures
Here we showcase the 10 European offshore wind projects with demand for specialist talent.
Seagreen Offshore Wind Farm Phase 1
Development of an offshore wind farm with a capacity of 1GW located up to 40km off the coast of Scotland. The project is part of phase 1 of the Firth of Forth zone and is being developed by SSE Renewables.
Recently, the French Supermajor Total obtained a 51% stake in the project. SSE will continue to lead on project development and construction though.
SSE have recently awarded several contracts for the project. Seaway7 will be the EPC contractor for the foundations and inter array cables. MHI Vestas will supply 114 V164MW turbines to the project. Swire Blue Ocean will be the turbine installation contractor.
Seagreen is an example of the Offshore Wind Supply chain taking a global approach. Lamprell will manufacture 30 Jacket foundations at its facility in Hamriyah Port, UAE.
SSE approved a final investment decision in June and Seagreen should be operational by 2022/23.
Led by Danish operator Ørsted, the Hornsea offshore wind farm project will have a capacity of 1.4GW and provide power to over 1.3m homes. Hornsea 2 will be approximately 89km off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea.
Installation of the turbine foundations, array cabling and 165 turbines will begin in 2021. The project is due to start operations in 2022.
The 450MW Neart na Gaoithe (NNG) project will cover an area of approximately 105 sq km off the coast of Fife. This EDF owned project comprises of 54 turbines with capacities of 8-9 MW each. Fabrication is due to begin soon with installation planned in spring 2021.
The project will generate enough energy to supply around 375,000 homes in Scotland. An amount that would offset around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
The Dogger Bank project consist of 3 developments (Dogger Bank A, B and C) off the coast of Yorkshire. The project is part of a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor. SSE Renewables will handle project development and construction, while Equinor will oversee operations.
All three projects combined will comprise of 1.2GW of power. Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world and meet 5% of the UK’s electricity demand.
Offshore construction will begin in 2021 with first power planned in 2023.
A 4GW offshore wind development zone in the Dutch North Sea off the Northern coast. The wind farm forms part of the Dutch government’s plans to develop 11.5GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
The Dutch TSO TenneT will connect the project to the local grid using DC technology. An artificial island could be constructed to accommodate a converter and transformer station. This would be more cost effective for grid connection than large offshore platforms.
The project is still in the feasibility stage. Tenders are currently ongoing for the offshore survey contract. It is expected that the Ijmuiden Ver project could be up and running by 2030.
Hollandse Kust Zuid is the development of an offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. It can be divided into four different sites, each capable of accommodating 350MW. In 2018 & 2019, Vattenfall won the tenders to develop the HKZ 1 & 2 projects and the second phase (HKZ 3 & 4).
The projects will have a total capacity of 1.5GW, enough to power 3m Dutch Households. As the transmission system operator in the Netherlands, TenneT will be responsible for grid connection.
TenneT awarded EPC contracts to Petrofac to build the Alpha & Beta Offshore Substations. Siemens Gamesa will be responsible for the Turbine Supply across both Project phases.
The connection of HKZ 1 & 2 will begin in 2021 with the HKZ 3 & 4 connection work to follow in 2022.
Baltic Eagle will be the 2nd major wind project developed by Iberdrola in Germany.
Like their Wikinger project, Baltic Eagle will be in the Baltic Sea next to the Island of Rugen.
The total capacity of the wind farm will be 476MW. The German TSO 50Hertz will connect the project to the local grid with two new high voltage cables.
In 2019, MHI Vestas were selected as preferred turbine supplier for the project. It will be the first offshore project to feature their V174 turbine. MHI Vestas will deliver and install the turbine in 2022/2023.
An EDF project, consisting of 71 gravity base foundations and capacity of 500MW. The project will be in the English Channel, 13km off the coast of the Haute Normandie region.
The project is still in its early stages and commissioning is expected for 2023.
Spain’s Iberdrola approved a final investment decision on this project in March 2020.
Based of the coast of Brittany, the total project investment could reach 2.4bn Euros. The project was one of the first in France to receive all necessary government permits for construction and operations.
The project has awarded all 62 jackets and corresponding piling to the Spanish company Navantia-Windar. and the final components will be completed at the Galician shipyards. This is a €350 million contract, one of the largest in offshore wind history and is set to create 2,000 direct jobs.
The 496MW wind farm will begin construction in 2021 and start operations in 2023.