On 20-21 September, the 12th edition of the international conference ‘Offshore Wind – Logistics & Supplies’ organised by the Polish Offshore Wind Energy Society (PTMEW) will take place in Gdynia. BalticWind.EU is a media patron of the event. We spoke to Jakub Budzynski, Vice President of PTMEW, about where the industry is today, what is most influencing the market, and what participants can expect at this year’s conference.

Paweł Wróbel, BalticWind.EU: How do you assess the current situation in the offshore wind market? What are the most important factors shaping the market?

Jakub Budzyński: Deputy CEO, PTMEW: Globally, we are undoubtedly experiencing an unprecedented boom in the sector. On an ongoing basis, we are observing the process of entry into the offshore wind industry of giant oil companies, more investment funds and the steady growth of the investment portfolios of the market leaders we have known for a long time.

On the supply chain side, we are also seeing tremendous mobilization. It is taking place with varying intensity in different countries and regions of the world. These differences are undoubtedly influenced by factors such as the scale and development potential of individual markets, the previous experience and resources of local suppliers in the field of broad production for the offshore and marine sectors, as well as the environment in the form of favorable or less favorable regulations, multiple support instruments, financial concessions and preference schemes, etc.

The megatrend related to the pursuit of so-called net-zero carbon power generation, needed no longer only to power electricity systems, the dynamic development of power to x technology, the reduction in the level of use of fossil fuels and, finally, the proven high efficiency of offshore wind installations – are the four factors I would describe as mainly determining the strong growth trend in offshore wind markets. Additionally, in our region, the need to diversify energy sources related to the uncertain geopolitical situation due to the war behind our eastern border is not without influence on the development of the RES market.

There are growing doubts whether “bidding” by EU countries for higher and higher offshore wind targets is a good way to accelerate project development – is this the right approach? What actions should accompany them to build the sector’s capacity and supply chain in a sustainable way that is resilient to economic fluctuations?

Indeed, we are facing a very heated economic climate practically in the global offshore wind market. Raising capital for so-called “green” or “blue” investments is now becoming relatively easy, and moreover, developing such projects benefits the market and image position of investors and developers. Observing this situation from the side of the supply chain, we notice a huge imbalance between demand and supply of services and products, now even in favor of the projects currently entering the implementation phase, and yet this factor will be one of the mainly decisive ones for the possibility of implementing ambitious investment strategies. Thus, we are faced with the alternative of launching massive investments to develop local supply chains in each area, or reducing strategic targets for offshore wind power to avoid the worst, i.e., abruptly halting or even deleting advanced projects.

The second eventuality seems unlikely today, so there’s only one way out – increasing the availability of investment capital for production companies in the sector, a good offer of contract guarantees and insurance, and, as if as a result of the implementation of the previous two, engaging new suppliers in the value chain while raising generation capacity.

A separate issue is the development of transmission networks and transmission infrastructure in general, going even beyond the sphere of the electric power industry. Inextricably linked to this challenge in the case of renewable sources is also the parallel development of the storage potential of generated energy and the above-mentioned development of alternative fuel generation technologies. Only the guarantee of receipt of generated energy is able to ensure a healthy market balance and a stable prospect for the development of the sector in general, so another clue is the development of grid infrastructure and progress in the production and consumption of e-fuels.

Zooming in on the main topics of the upcoming annual PTMEW conference – can you indicate where you see the greatest potential for activities that will allow projects to be implemented in the Baltic Sea?

As every year, the program of our conference ‘Offshore Wind – Logistics & Supplies’ will be filled with content related to the latest technological developments in the field of offshore wind turbines, power derivation, support structures, shipbuilding in the area of specialized units to support the process of construction and operation of offshore wind farms. We will also discuss innovations in logistics and technical design.

If I were to introduce a gradation of the aforementioned issues in terms of their importance for the development of the local supply chain, I can point to the following:

  • power derivation – in this area we will talk about the status of progress on the conventionally called “fully equipped, Polish offshore trafostation” project. We are glad, as PTMEW, that we will not be discussing this topic at a future, unspecified time. The same comment could apply, for example, to subsea export cables from a Polish manufacturer,
  • service and operation of offshore wind farms – during this session, panelists will talk about the latest trends in this field, but the theme of the great potential of local companies will also be highly emphasized. It seems that it is O&M in the first phase of development of the Polish market that will allow to generate the largest share of the domestic supply chain,
  • offshore wind turbine – representatives of Vestas will present very extensive material, presenting the latest results of testing the operating parameters of the 15 MW turbine model, purchased by Baltic Power for the farm of the same name, but above all, the theme that will be covered in depth is contracting local supplies, with a goal in mind of locating production facilities precisely in our country, which is already an officially announced fact,
  • legal issues related to the contracting process in the offshore wind sector will be a very interesting topic, which has not been discussed at our conferences so far. Experienced lawyers from Poland and Denmark will present the not easy specifics of contracts in the offshore sector, while panelists, who will represent both the demand and supply side, will discuss their point of view on the security of contracting and how to look for a compromise in the area of guarantees and contractual requirements in order to create room in the supply chain also for new entrants.

More details on the 12th International Conference “Offshore Wind – Logistics & Supplies”: http://www.offshore-conference.pl/