A report by RCG Nordic, commissioned by Brigg Vind, the offshore wind consortium at Sørlige Nordsjø II consisting of Vårgrønn, Å Energi and Corio Generation, has conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date of Norway's offshore wind supplier companies.
Over 600 companies have been analysed in detail on their ability to deliver products and services to the rapidly growing global offshore wind industry.
The findings show that many companies can be found in all parts of the offshore wind value chain and that the potential for the supply industry is huge. The analysis has been carried out in collaboration with the industry groups Norsk Industri, the Norwegian Shipowners' Association,GCE Node, Norwegian Offshore Wind and Norwegian Energy Partners (NORWEP).
The report identifies that the Norwegian supplier industry has comparative advantages and the greatest potential for supplying goods and services in the following areas: production of export cables, foundation and turbine installation, and construction and operation of vessels and transformer platforms.
Norwegian-based Nexans, with factories in Rognan, Halden and Langhus, is already the leading manufacturer of subsea cables. Nordic Steel from Bryne supplies 360,000 kg of ventilation ducts to the world's largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank in the UK. Aibel from Haugesund, is delivering the world's first unmanned offshore converter platform for the same project.
The report also found that in addition to traditional supplier companies many smaller start-up companies also have in-built comparative advantages in digitalisation, robotics and software systems. As part of the analysis, over 40 Norwegian technology companies and start-ups that are ready to deliver new solutions for offshore wind were surveyed. With the tough competition that has existed in the offshore wind industry, developers have had to adopt more "radical" solutions to become profitable and sustainable. Spoor is an example of one such company, which develops software to protect bird life using artificial intelligence (AI).
However, no Norwegian companies are currently at the forefront of the most important segments of the offshore wind supply chain. While individual Norwegian companies have won offshore wind contracts internationally, the majority of Norwegian supplier companies have not been able to benefit from an existing domestic offshore wind market, reducing the chance for local hands-on experience. The suppliers need this in order to become competitive on time, price and quality in deliveries to offshore wind projects.
The report also looks at lessons learned from the countries that have come furthest in offshore wind investment and recommends the following should be put in place to realise Norway’s potential:
- A specific regime for announcing areas at regular intervals. It is positive that the government has set an ambition of 30 GW of offshore wind before 2040. If there are large and frequent awards throughout the 2020s, this will help Norwegian companies. In order to invest, scale up and take risks on winning contracts, supplier companies need confidence that there will be a continuous stream of announcements and assignments.
- Systematic cooperation between the authorities, developers and the supplier industry. The UK government is investing in infrastructure together with the supply industry to build a solid value chain. Germany has made a plan for new capacity with regular announcements, infrastructure development and new jobs.Norway needs to do the same to realise the full potential of the local offshore wind industry.
Read the full report 'Norwegian Offshore Wind Supply Chain Report'.