Analysts at Clarksons Platou Securities believe that, in the medium to long-term, the floating offshore wind market could provide significant opportunities for owners or anchor-handling tug/supply (AHTS) and anchor handling tug (AHT) vessels
Reacting to a recent contract awarded to Boskalis, the company’ first floating wind installation contract, that will see it use AHT vessels for the 48-MW Kincardine project, Clarksons Platou Securities analysts Turner Holm and Nikolai Ødegaard analysed what the development of the burgeoning floating wind market could mean for the AHTS/AHT vessel segment.
However, Boskalis is not the only vessel owner to have benefited from demand in the nascent floating wind market. Bourbon played an important role in installing the turbines for the 25-MW WindFloat Atlantic project and helped to install the first turbine at Cobra Wind’s Kincardine site off the coast of Scotland, where Boskalis will now install five more floating turbines.
“AHTS and AHTs are critical to floating wind’s future,” Clarksons Platou Securities’ analysts noted. Many offshore vessel owners have invested in high spec anchor handlers, but they remain under-utilised for the time being due to the downturn in the offshore oil and gas market.
As Clarksons Platou Securities’ analysts noted, floating wind foundations are assembled together with the turbine at a shipyard or staging area, before being towed out and moored. This process requires several AHTS/AHT vessels.
“Currently, the market is small, but it is expected to grow rapidly, especially in the mid-to-late 2020s,” Mr Holm and Mr Ødegaard noted. “South Korea in particular is a market that is generating a lot of interest.” In South Korea alone, around 1,000 floating foundations may be needed by 2030, assuming an average 12-MW turbine size. Oil major Total and Green Investment Group recently confirmed plans to build up to 2.3 GW of floating wind capacity in South Korea waters. They said construction could get underway as soon as 2023.
“Globally, we expect 30 GW of floating wind to be installed by 2030, suggesting about 2,500 turbines may require installation, mostly from 2023-2030,” they said.
“So, what does this mean? Potentially a lot for the AHTS market. As an example, the 30-MW Hywind Scotland project used 81 AHTS vessel days according to Clarksons Platou Offshore data, or about 16 vessel days per foundation.
“If this project represents a typical vessel use in floating wind, then about 40,000 vessels days potentially could be required for floating wind from 2023-2030.
“In addition, a maintenance market is likely to develop, which would represent additional demand. In sum, despite challenging conditions in the offshore oil and gas space, it appears floating wind gives AHTS owners reason for optimism.”