Special insights: Offshore Wind

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NBAS, Innovation Norway and Norwegian Energy Partners hosted a special insights panel Offshore Wind on February 24. Together with a number of experts from leading companies in the field, we explored the business opportunities in South-East Asia as well as the particular Norwegian competencies. These are the main insights and highlights from the event.

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Offshore wind is a crucial part of the energy transition

“As the energy transition is increasingly gaining momentum and speed, we witness a fast-track shift within established oil companies and entire value chains” says NBAS President Leonard Opitz Stornes. “Companies are changing focus in attempts to better understand and capitalize on the new energy landscape, where offshore wind will be a key driver.”

We are currently watching a shift in the industry, with a growing share of renewables, gas and new energy solutions in the energy mix. “Being on the ground in Singapore, it is encouraging to witness how the authorities, key organizations, associations and thought leaders drive the change forward,” says Stornes. “But let’s also keep in mind that this change is somewhat overdue, and needed for our planet’s long term sustainability”

South-East Asia as an interesting future prospect

North-East Asia has been an interesting market for investor, due to relatively strong wind speeds, decreasing levelized energy costs, as well as the more advanced technology capable of tackling difficult weather conditions, explains Pål Kastmann, Director of Innovation Norway Singapore. However, South-East Asia represents an interesting prospect for the future. “We must explore how we can positions ourselves to take part in this venture” says Kastmann.

Innovation Norway and the embassies in the region have recently taken the intiative to establish a meeting place for actors within the energy field in Asia, where companies and public stakeholder may share information on upcoming activities and future opportunities. “The aim is to improve information and coordination between stakeholders in the region, and ensure that we position Norwegian companies for any upcoming tenders or opportunities that come” says Kastmann.

Learn more about business opportunities for Norwegian companies in the region in our latest NBAS Talks podcast episode with Pål Kastmann here. 

Credit Illustration Copyright Equinorequinor Bilde Tampen

Photo credit: Equinor.

Panel 1: What are the market opportunities for Offshore-Wind?

With Darius Snieckus (Editor-in-chief, Recharge), Clare Heuer (Regional Director, Business Development, New Energy Solutions, Equinor) and Alexander Fløtre (Vice President Offshore wind, Rystad Energy)

“The ambition, construction and installation of the offshore wind fleet emerging globally is nothing short of unprecedented,” explains Snieckus. While the majority of installed capacity is in Europe, China will surpass it shortly. We are likely to see a rapid scale-up in many parts of the world, including in emerging Asian markets. According to the World Bank, offshore wind has the potential to power the world, with implications for both economic development and clean power, says Snieckus.

Fløtre explains that Asia will reach the same installed capacity of offshore wind as Europe by 2025. This will first be largely driven by China, but other Asian countries are expected to pick up the pace and keep the momentum. Taiwan, Japan and South-Korea will carry the market in the longer term, potentially accompanied by Vietnam and other South-East Asian markets. Heuer adds that South-East Asia, despite not having ideal wind conditions, is equipped to develop offshore wind. From her viewpoint, the technology and expertise in the region must be accompanied by sound government policies, good governance and infrastructure. This will attract supply chains, jobs and talents, leading to economic growth.

The panelists predict that the main players in South-East Asia will be a combination of big power and big oil, as well as local and non-local developers. Fløtre explains that there is a general openness to foreign companies entering the markets, which he himself has experienced in Taiwan. Moreover, all three emphasize the importance of cooperation across sectors and countries. According to Snieckus, big power and big oil companies will benefit from cooperating due to their complementary sets of skills and technology. Heuer adds that offshore wind is “not a zero-sum game,” and if South-East Asian countries want to succeed, they need play on each other’s strengths.

Panel 2: What role can Singapore play in evolving offshore wind opportunities?

With Leong Peng Tan (Managing Director, Keppel FELS), Edgare Kerwijk (Managing Director, Asia Wind Energy Association and Simon Kuik (Vice President, Research and Development, Sembcorp Marine)

According to the panelists, Singapore has a big – and diverse – role to play in the development of offshore wind. “You would be surprised by how many people in the offshore wind segment that are based out of Singapore” says Kerwijk. This includes engineers and leaders in regional officers, as well as financing services and high-level lawyers who draft and arbitrate contracts.

We are currently seeing more and more companies transferring to Singapore. It is currently the headquarter for the majority of North-East Asian offshore wind projects. When Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia start developing offshore wind, it will likely to become the regional hub. Singapore has the expertise, technology, infrastructure and ecosystem required for the role, explain Tan and Kuik. Moreover, Kerwijk adds, “new technology and cost compression will make offshore wind projects in South East Asia possible, even with the current wind conditions.”

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From the left: Edgare Kerwijk, Leong Peng Tan, Paul Kastmann, Per Christer Lund, Simon Kuik and Petter Nilsen.

Panel 3: What are the unique Norwegian competencies for offshore wind?

With Johan Sandberg (Head of Business Development, Aker Offshore Wind), Arvid Nesse (Managing Director, Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster) and Petter Nilsen (Managing Director, AOS Offshore). 

The Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster aims to establish global leading supply chains within offshore wind, and particularly within floating offshore wind. “There has been a big increase in the interest for offshore wind in Norway” says Nesse. In no more than a year, the cluster has grown from around 100 to 255 members. “Many company members are quite specialized and will gain a lot from collaboration, both in terms of technology and market development” he says.

Nesse and Nilsen explain that Norway is well-suited for developing offshore wind, with particular experience in the deep water part from the maritime and oil and gas industries. “Norwegians are used to operating in very harsh oceans” says Nilsen. We have a long-standing history of building constructions from the oil and gas, as well as building and navigating ships in the maritime industries. These lessons and skill-sets are very valuable in developing technology for offshore wind.

Sandberg discusses the business opportunities of using hydrogen as a clean fuel for future projects. He explains that there is already an increased demand for hydrogen as an energy carrier, but also for integrating this into the offshore wind value chain. This opens up for interesting opportunities, including decarbonizing platforms. The electrification of oil and gas may not need to take the form of electrifying connections anymore, but rather using hydrogen or ammonium.

“What we recognize is the size of the opportunity here”

Useful resources:

Kongsberg Offshore Wind

Photo credit: Kongsberg Maritime

Special thanks to:

Our moderator for the event, Dr Per Christer Lund. Per Christer is technology advisor at Innovation Norway Singapore and leader of IN’s clean energy business network.

Event sponsors:

Our gold sponsor for the event is Equinor. Equinor is determined to be a global major within offshore wind. 

Our silver sponsor for the event is Kongsberg Maritime. Kongsberg has played an important role in developing some of the most important enabling technologies for both offshore wind-turbines, as well as the vessels that make them possible.

Our venue-sponsor Cyviz is a global technology provider deploying standardised conference rooms, control rooms and experience centers. They serve, among others, Energy and Renewables companies with the highest requirements for usability, collaborative decision making and security.

Get in touch with us at admin@nbas.org.sg for the video recording of the event.

NBAS is collaborating with upcoming artists in Singapore and Norway to showcase their work, while we get a creative take on our graphic profile. In February 2021, NBAS featured Chris Chai.