Asia wind farms face shortage of installers


As countries embark on a rapid build-out of wind power in the next decade, builders can’t churn out the support vessels fast enough to keep up, according to shipping experts. — Reuters

BEIJING: Asian nations counting on offshore wind farms to meet clean energy goals are facing an increasing shortage of ships for installing the massive turbines in the sea.

As countries embark on a rapid build-out of wind power in the next decade, builders can’t churn out the support vessels fast enough to keep up, according to shipping experts.

The situation is only going to get worse as blades get longer and require bigger ships to handle them.

“Specialised vessels are going to be in demand for projects in Taiwan and South Korea,” said Sean Lee, chief executive officer of shipyard Marco Polo Marine Ltd.

“There will be more and more projects coming up, and a big wave of them in Japan from 2028.”

The complicated job of planting a wind turbine in the seabed requires several types of ships specially designed for the work: Turbine installers feature massive cranes capable of hoisting objects weighing as much as the largest sequoia tree. Commissioning service operation vessels (CSOVs), provide adjustable gangways that allow technicians to reach the turbine blades.

Excluding China, there are currently only about 10 turbine installing ships and a few dozen CSOVs operating worldwide, according to shipbroker Clarksons. By 2030, demand for turbine installers will outpace supply by about 15 vessels, while the gap for CSOVs will widen to more than 145 CSOVs from 30 currently, it said. — Bloomberg

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