Singapore’s Keppel Corporation declared their intentions today to diversify their shipbuilding business portfolio and branch out into the wind energy industry. For about NOK 61 million, KV Ventus B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel, entered into an agreement to acquire a 49.9% stake in offshore wind turbine foundation designer OWEC Tower (AS).
This plan comes a few months after Korean shipbuilder, DSME, announced similar intentions in the proposed acquisition of German wind turbine manufacturer, Bard Holding GmBH.
OWEC Tower, headquartered in Norway, is a leader in the design and engineering of offshore wind turbine foundations. The company has developed a proprietary jacket foundation design known as OWEC Quattropod, which is currently the only proven jacket design in the market. The OWEC Quattropod design separates and optimises the piling and jacket installation process, resulting in reduced installation costs and faster project delivery.
With the aim of getting a slice of the offshore wind foundation business, this investment will enable Keppel Offshore & Marine to tap on OWEC Tower’s expertise to further develop its business in the design and construction of offshore wind turbine foundations as well as installation and support vessels thereby providing value-added solutions to its customers.
Mr Michael Chia, Director of Group Strategy and Development at Keppel said in their press release:
“We are seeing offshore wind energy rapidly gaining traction around the world and a large number of offshore wind farms are under construction and planning. This will result in a huge increase in demand for foundation structures. With OWEC Tower’s leading design in this segment, our partnership puts us in the ideal position to capture a share of this market.
As offshore wind farms move into deeper waters with bigger capacity turbines, a large number of jacket foundations will be required. With our experience and expertise as a leading rig builder, we see good potential in supporting OWEC Tower to meet this demand in a cost-effective and reliable manner. Together with our proprietary designs for offshore wind turbine and foundation installers, we are confident of further enhancing our suite of solutions for the offshore wind industry.”
To-date, OWEC Tower is the only company with a track record of having its jacket foundation design installed for offshore wind farms. Projects include the Beatrice pilot test off the coast of Scotland, the German pilot project Alpha Ventus, Ormonde wind farm in the UK, and the Belgian Thornton Bank project.
Europe is currently the leader in offshore wind energy. According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), at the end of 2010, Europe had 1,136 offshore wind turbines installed and connected to the grid on 45 wind farms in nine countries. In total, these have a power capacity of 2.9 GW and can produce 11.5TWh of electricity in a normal year.
Offshore wind will become increasingly important as European countries move towards renewable energy. EWEA has set a target of 40 GW installed by 2020 and 150 GW by 2030. The huge number of offshore wind farms under construction and planning will result in a corresponding demand for foundation structures. Investments in offshore wind farms in Europe alone are projected at €209 billion from 2010-20.