A major expansion of Europe’s offshore wind capacity is on the horizon, but a new report now finds that the upcoming global shortage of specialized offshore wind vessels might pose a risk for project execution in Europe and worldwide.

At the Polish Wind Energy Association’s Annual Conference 2022 in Serock, Poland, WindEurope and the Polish Wind Energy Association published a new report on the availability of offshore wind vessels up to 2030. The report, focusing on the Baltic Sea region, concludes that investments in new vessels are urgently needed for Poland and other Baltic Sea countries to deliver their current offshore wind ambitions.

As SubCableWorld’s primary interest is in cable-laying vessels, here are some findings from the report related to these vessels. 

  • The reports states that there are currently 28 dedicated cable-lay vessels (CLVs) in operation that can be used to install submarine power cables.
  • Four more CLVs are under construction and will be operational by 2024.
  • There are no planned additions to the fleet after 2024, but as CLVs have a 3-4 year lead time, this is to be expected.
  • The report identified two “peak” periods of offshore wind cable deployment: 2024-2025 and 2028-2030.
  • For the 2024-2025 peak, the report forecasts that there will be an average gap of 5.8 CLVs.
  • For the 2028-2030 peak, the average gap will be 21.5 CLVs.
  • If this gap can be filled, there will be 57 CLVs in service by 2030.

The report notes that the worldwide shortage CLVs poses and other offshore wind vessels pose a risk to project execution worldwide.  It notes, however, that given the 3-4 year lead time, enough new CLVs could be built to fill the gap by 2024-2025.  By 2030, 25 new CLVs will need to be built to reach the 57 that the report says will be needed to meet current goals.

The report can be downloaded here and the chapter on CLVs begins on page 49.