"OFFSHORE WIND IS POISED TO TAKE OFF ON A GLOBAL SCALE — BUT IT WON’T BE EASY".
Updated: May 18
An interview with the WT team on the expanding market.
Ahead of the first virtual IPF event, we dig a little deeper into WT's role within the expansion of the industry.
IPF 2021, the most important annual U.S Offshore Wind event, is focusing the first day of its virtual content on ‘expansion’; from the supply chain networks to integration, decarbonisation to global project updates. Some of the best minds in the industry will discuss the positive developments within the U.S and beyond; key market opportunities for industry and supply chain growth, as well as giving insight for how businesses can transform and play a vital role in this expanding industry. Here are some answers to the top questions Wood Thilsted is being asked leading up to the beginning of the IPF events: Q. Let’s drive straight in. As we all know, the global energy transition is a pathway away from fossil-based to zero-carbon energy. What are the three biggest contributions Wood Thilsted are driving to make this energy transition into reality? “Start with the big guns! Well, first thing’s first; our biggest contribution is the wicked-smart team here at Wood Thilsted. We care about the future of our planet and our expertise are second-to-none. Our power is in the passion, dedication, knowledge and intelligence behind what we do. We are confident to say we believe we are the best at what we do – providing the most cost efficient, intelligent, and sustainable Offshore Wind project designs. We’re able to engineer foundation solutions with less materials - our optimised designs are more efficient and offer huge financial benefits. The overall costs and margins for Offshore Wind projects have come down dramatically from what they used to be, making it even more critical that we have best talent to ensure accuracy and there is no room for errors to be made. In at two, (though in no particular order here!) is our adaptability and agility in this changing market and evolving world. We can respond to our clients changing needs with the technology we use and how we work with them as a single team. Projects evolve more effectively because we are more efficient and work as a thoroughly integrated team. We are here and able to support clients and deliver client success. Finally, and by no means least, our biggest contribution is our ability to grow with the market. Our team has grown by 50% in the past 12 months, we have active projects across 4 continents, and we are expanding as the market expands - at pace!! Our end goal? To deliver our best-in-class services to as many projects as possible. Our expertise in designing foundations for wind farms in Europe can now be applied to markets globally which contribute to driving down costs of Offshore Wind and enhance the proliferation of it.” Q. This new way of thinking is going to transform the energy market forever - how does it feel to be part of such a huge global change? “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime - how many people can say their day job can have such an impact for our collective future? When you discover what Offshore Wind can do and what it means for transforming our global energy production, your passion is unleashed! You get up every day, work the problems, create, design or consult, to bring this technology to the forefront and solve the energy crisis. We have had staff move continents to be part of our story, to share their talent with the progressive and adaptive industry. It’s powerful to be part of such a collective movement and see what combining our minds can achieve. Wood Thilsted are firmly a part of the story and solution for reducing energy-related CO2 emissions in order to limit climate change. It feels nothing short of total fulfilment that we are making a difference to meet the global targets for the great energy transition.” Q. Wood Thilsted is a key player in the transformation of the global energy sector - how are you leading the conversation in Offshore Wind? We are at the very frontier of the market, from both the scale of what we do, the technology we use and our expertise in how we engineer. We are currently delivering the largest project in the world, with the biggest turbines (from GE) in the market. We are the key problem-solvers from projects in Japan to North America, not to mention we are able to take on the most technically challenging areas - working in seismic areas and dealing with tropical cyclones, for example. We are doing more to improve our communications not just within the industry, but outside it too, to educate, inspire and inform the conversations around Offshore Wind. Q: What key technologies or innovation do you anticipate being the most important in order to navigate energy demand peaks/changes, whilst the population and economy are still growing? “The biggest challenges we will face, are with the areas of our economy which are the toughest to remove carbon from. Two we are particularly interested in looking at are aviation & homes. Now aviation contributes around 2% of the world's global carbon emissions, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It also predicts passenger numbers will double to 8.2 billion in 2037. This is a huge rise and will no doubt put strain on our emissions. What we must do is find a way we can power planes using renewable energy. As for household heating, there are both global and local goals in place. Take the UK’s “Green Power Pledge"; delivering the ‘promise to power every home with Offshore Wind by 2030’. This is a great target to have, but in order to reach the Prime Minister’s target of 40 gigawatts of Offshore Wind by 2030, (which will power all the homes in the UK), the pace and scale at which projects are being built needs to get a move on. And that is just one country alone, let alone the global shift we need to act on collectively. So, let’s imagine the above can be solved, there is still one of the biggest challenges we face in the industry, bringing the power to the shore and to the grid. Real results will be achieved by combining battery storage with Offshore Wind to stabilise power delivery and allow renewables to completely take over from fossil fuels for global power generation. Until recent years, batteries and other energy storage systems were not large enough to bridge the mismatch between supply and demand. Advances in battery technology have solved this problem. Combining that technology with the capability of large wind farms to regulate output and even provide black-start in the event of an outage, gives grid operators the tools to fully remove fossil energy from the picture. More economical technology is coming online, and its powerful impact on the markets will no doubt be proven.” Q. And last but by no means least, why Offshore Wind? “It is one of the only renewable energy options which can deliver energy of utility scale and is generated in close proximity to heavily populated areas. Offshore Wind technology is becoming increasingly mainstream. If we look back to 2009, it represented only 1% of global wind generation capacity, a figure which had grown to 10% by 2019. Now at Wood Thilsted, we are able to get more turbines in the water; faster, cheaper, better. Sustainability is absolutely at the forefront of our minds as a business and the services we offer, but it goes beyond recycling paper or turning off the lights - it’s about bringing down the cost of renewable energy and putting the world on a much better footing so business can adopt it faster. We are designed for the Offshore Wind business - unlike other companies we have no fossil fuel division - we are 100% focused on Offshore Wind. We are the experts in our field, so we are truly contributing to the advancement of this industry and the transformation of the planet.” Interview contributions by: Christian LeBlanc Thilsted, Director & Founder Alastair Muir Wood, Director & Founder Matt Palmer, Director, President & CEO WT USA Hannah Abend, Director