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Key takeaways for developers and operators from the 2024 Floating Wind Solutions Conference

In this article, I'd like to offer my insights from the summit which stem from discussions I had with developers and OEMs throughout the forum.

The Floating Wind Solutions (FWS) 2024 conference was the first big gathering this year for the global offshore wind community in North America—and the dialogue and tone of the event effectively set the stage for the remainder of the year.

Cautious optimism

The industry is shaking off negativity from 2023 and is ready to get out of the doldrums.

For example, operators and developers of fixed-bottom projects shared with me that they have a better understanding of key pain points. These learnings will enable developers and operators to optimize and more efficiently build new fixed-bottom projects. Most importantly, these lessons can help inform the sustainable development of floating wind in the U.S.

I heard optimism and excitement about the upcoming 2024 lease sales in the U.S., with 2 of the lease sales featuring offshore floating wind sites in Oregon and the Gulf of Maine. This will bring additional infrastructure investments to bolster the floating wind supply chain and port capabilities, like the USD 426 million federal grant from the Department of Transportation for a heavy lift terminal in Humboldt.

A nascent industry ready to grow

The industry needs to better manage expectations around floating wind in the U.S. The fact is that this industry is still new. Developers who succeeded in BOEM’s Pacific Wind Lease Sale 1 are just starting to execute their floating offshore wind project plans. They will face a new suite of project risks around development timelines for permitting and infrastructure investments in supply chain, ports, and transmission.

The reality is also that the spotlight will be on these first floating wind projects. Developers can set themselves up for success by checking out this article from my colleague Philipp Koehler on operations and maintenance strategies for offshore wind. He explains the operational models and strategies for commercial scale deployment ranging from optimal vessel selection, contracting, technology (selection, development, innovation), and execution strategy.

Oregon’s blue frontier

I also want to share a few key insights and perspectives from my presentation on technical and permitting challenges related to the upcoming Oregon Offshore Wind auction.

The policy support is there. In 2021, OR HB2021 and OR HB3375 establish clear GHG emission reductions targets and a goal of 3GW floating offshore wind by 2030. In 2022, the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) indicated that ~2.6 GW of energy can be injected into the grid without major transmission upgrades. Additionally, other policies in favor of developing offshore wind include efforts between Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) and California Independent System Operator (CAISO) for inter-regional transmission planning where inter-regional transmission projects are being considered in the Transmission Planning Process (TPP).

Technology readiness for commercial scale deep-water deployment is key and will require advancing technologies from what's being considered for floating offshore wind developments globally. In particular, the mooring system selection and array cable configuration will challenge the techno-economic feasibility for deep-water projects where the current WEA’s have water depths up to 1,500 m. Additionally, the project execution plans will require a long-term outlook on the development of the required supply chain to support projects which includes understanding where projects will fabricate and assemble the WTG foundations, integrate the WTGs, and what ports will be developed will directly impact the project commercial feasibility.

Will we see a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) like CA? The PEIS creates standard mitigation measures for all developers and all lease areas within designated regions which impact the wind farm layouts from a grid spacing potentially coordinate layout perspective. As illustrated in the record number of comments submitted to BOEM during the comment period, stakeholder concerns coupled with state and federal requirements significantly complicates the permitting process for offshore wind projects in Oregon.

If you are planning to participate in Oregon’s upcoming offshore wind auction, DNV’s Oregon's blue frontier: challenges and opportunities for developing offshore wind projects white paper outlines the challenges and opportunities unique to Oregon.

Conclusion

Finally, my biggest takeaway from FWS24 is a call to action for developers and operators. For floating offshore wind to work, the industry must demonstrate that we can identify, quantify, and mitigate risks across the lifecycle.

DNV is uniquely positioned to help. We have provided advisory services to 97% of global offshore wind projects and have more than 40 years of identifying and mitigating wind energy risk. Our global expertise is paired with our regional presence and local knowledge.

DNV’S North American offshore wind experts helped several clients succeed in California’s 2022 offshore wind auction. We have unique insights into permitting, technology concepts, and key market challenges in areas like Oregon and Maine.

Let our expertise become your edge in offshore wind.

2/27/2024 2:00:00 PM

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Kamil Siddiqi

Kamil Siddiqi

Senior Project Manager - Offshore Wind

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Offshore Wind North America

DNV is your trusted partner in developing safe and reliable offshore wind projects in North America.

 

Oregon's blue frontier

Challenges and opportunities for developing offshore wind projects DNV

 

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