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NEW: MARKET DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA
China is on the way to becoming the global leading country when concerning the total amount of installed offshore wind capacity. As of today, the total amount of fully commissioned offshore wind capacity amounts to approx. 7.7 GW. In addition, a significant quantity of new offshore wind capacity of around 18 GW is currently under construction which will put China in a leading position within the global offshore wind industry over the next years.
Furthermore, the central subsidies will taper off in 2021 and competitive auction schemes are likely to follow within the individual provinces, eventually even subsidy-free. The below graph illustrates the approximate way forward of upcoming offshore projects and capacity respectively. However, in 2021 a new national offshore wind target for 2025 seems to be introduced which could affect the upcoming project pipeline. At any rate, it is of the utmost importance that the development of the local supply chain keeps pace in order to handle the anticipated way forward of realising the new offshore projects.
NEW: MARKET ENTRY FORECAST FOR JACK-UP VESSELS
It stands out that the leading wind turbine OEMs are continuously improving the product portfolio of new turbine designs featuring increased capacities in the region of 11MW onward. Next to such an increase in turbine capacity and turbine size, the dimensions and unit weights of related turbine components such as Nacelle, Blades and Towers show a sharp increase accordingly. The installation process of wind turbines usually requires the utilisation of Jack-Up vessels, aside first floating turbine installation test projects.
These days and roughly speaking, only a handful of Jack-Up vessels currently exist in the market capable of conducting the installation works of the aforementioned next-generation wind turbines. Therefore and with a view on potential market shortages for such highly specialised installation vessels, vessel owners react thus several new building vessels were addressed recently, next to additional retrofitting modifications for existing vessels and their crane performance respectively.
The below graph summarizes, over the forthcoming years, some of the expected new Jack-Up vessels, either a new building or a retrofitting project, and further indicates the area of operations of such vessels.
The majority of the indicated new vessels will have a crane capacity of at least 1,500 tons whereas it seems a new league of “high spec” Jack-Up vessels with crane capacities of 2,500 tons and above will be established in the course of the next years. This would also be of further relevance with regards to adjacent scopes of work such as the foundation installation, which is more often conducted by floating heavy lift vessels since the current amount of Jack-Up vessels capable to conduct XL foundation installation works is extremely limited. Furthermore, it stands out the Japanese- cabotage regulated offshore vessel market will see three new installation vessels, next to the already existing units, which would serve the growing local demand accordingly.
In the USA locally built ships are mandatory to operate between US ports and offshore wind farm projects, so in 2023 the first Jones Act compliant Jack-Up vessel will start its works to support the US projects.
In addition to the aforementioned new Jack-Up vessels, further vessel concepts seem to exist on paper, whereas it remains to be seen if and to what extend the ever-growing demand for these highly specialized assets can be satisfied accordingly.