General – manufacturing
Ocean Winds announced that they will take a revolutionary approach to the Scottish Government’s policy ambition of creating a Scottish Offshore Wind Manufacturing Industry.
The 1.8 gigawatt proposal for a bottom-fixed offshore wind farm in the W1 plan option area – named Hebridean Offshore Wind Farm, has the potential to be the gateway for a new era of Scottish steel fabrication. It is a ‘Special Case’ that will enable the establishment of a steel fabrication factory in Scotland.
By selecting wide-diameter steel tubular sections as the output for that factory, they intend to create a sustainable facility that will create a product that will be in demand no matter what direction future offshore wind development takes over the next decade.
Dan Finch, Managing Director for OW UK explained: “Two dynamics for the future of offshore wind are clear. Firstly, turbines are getting bigger. That means their towers are getting taller and wider, creating a demand for wide diameter steel sections. Secondly, turbines are being built in deeper water. Monopile technology has improved and the most economical way of developing water depths of up to ca 50 – 60m is using new XXL monopiles, again creating a demand for wide diameter steel sections. Although much of the 10GW of ScotWind will need to use floating technologies, all of the 8GW of the UK’s Round 4 will deploy fixed foundations – expected to deploy cost-effective monopiles. By focussing on the rolling and fabrication of wide diameter steel sections we give a new facility the best opportunity for a long-term market”.
The new factory will require a massive supply chain investment of £300m. According to Ocean Winds, this investment has now been made possible because the Scottish Government has capped the costs it expects developers to pay for leases in Scotland.
Finch explained: “The Scottish Government has matched its ambition with a financial commitment. Developers’ Option Fees which would otherwise rest in a government account, can be used instead to make early direct investment in the supply chain. We are ready for that challenge and have designated Hebridean Offshore Wind Farm as a special case to enable that to happen.”