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offshore wind turbine installation

A2Sea's offshore wind turbine installation vessel installs a turbine at the 8MW wind turbines at the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm off the coast of Liverpool, England. Photo credit: Ørsted A/S

Offshore Wind’s Carbon-Cutting Ambition Imperiled by Ship Shortage

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February 27, 2023

By Josh Saul (Bloomberg) —

A shortage of the big boats capable of installing wind turbine foundations on the ocean floor threatens to delay new projects as soon as next year, according to a new report from BloombergNEF. 

The lack of ships may start to slow development of offshore wind farms in China starting in 2024 and could stunt new projects in the rest of the world beginning in 2027, according to BNEF. At stake are more than 35 gigawatts of electricity generation, enough to power well over 10 million homes.  

Offshore Wind Sector Could Face Bottlenecks as Size of Turbines Outpaces Installation Ships

Offshore wind power is seen as a crucial tool in the push to purge fossil fuels from the global power supply, cut carbon emissions and avoid the worst consequences of climate change. But hurdles ranging from inflation to supply chain kinks to dead whales are complicating development. 

As wind turbines get bigger, few of the ships that exist today will be able to lift the heavy foundations required by the larger machines. However, there will be enough ships to install the actual wind turbines atop the foundations, between the current supply of vessels and the ones being built or retrofitted,  BNEF said in the report.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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