New offshore wind alliance in Brussels! Five European companies have formed the Offshore Wind Foundations Alliance (OWFA), aiming to inform about the importance and relevance of offshore wind foundations and ensure the sustainability of the offshore wind supply chain. BalticWind.EU asks about alliance activity in the Baltic Sea region.

While offshore wind already contributes to the EU’s carbon neutrality objectives and is an obvious front-runner to achieve carbon neutrality until 2050, the sustainability and competitiveness of a crucial construction element – the foundations on which the offshore wind turbines are placed – have so far not been highlighted in the public discourse. Offshore wind foundations are an integral part of Green Deal Offshore wind foundations, the support structures for offshore wind turbines, are basic elements to achieve the ambitious climate goals included in the European Green Deal for the offshore renewable energy strategy.

For this reason, five European companies with first-class engineering expertise producing offshore wind foundations have decided to join forces and create the Offshore Wind Foundations Alliance (OWFA). The five founding companies are Bladt Industries A/S (Denmark), EEW Special Pipe Constructions GmbH (Germany), SIF Netherlands BV (the Netherlands), Smulders Projects Belgium (Belgium), and Steelwind Nordenham GmbH (Germany).

The foundation types

The main foundation type is the monopile (single steel cylinders) together with transition pieces, used when the water is not too deep (up to 55 m depth currently, though this is constantly evolving). For deeper waters, jackets (a chair-like tower structure) are used. For really deep waters, floating foundation structures are being developed. Offshore wind foundations play a decisive role as they anchor the entire wind turbine structure in the seabed. OWFA advocates for a level playing field in the offshore wind foundations market with first-class industry-led EU quality and environmental standards.

OWFA also believes that foundations should be supplied from the shortest possible distance, to limit the transport-related carbon footprint of these very heavy structures. The Alliance is already active in Brussels and has started to share its expertise with EU policymakers as part of the European strategy for offshore renewable energy and other related policy areas.

OWFA and Baltic Sea

OWFA explains to BalticWind.EU that companies joined forces in March 2021 to raise awareness about the key role offshore wind foundations play in the sustainable development of offshore wind farms in Europe.

“The coalition aims to create a level-playing field ensuring foundation suppliers take the lead in setting standards and certification processes that concern them, and to integrate quality and sustainability standards in public and private offshore wind tenders.”

“With regard to OWFA members’ activities in the Baltic Sea, OWFA members are already active in the Baltic Sea area (with production site, specialised platform, etc.). They are closely following the Baltic Sea offshore wind market to identify concrete (tender) opportunities that could generate sustainable energy to thousands of households in the region and further contribute to the EU’s carbon neutrality objectives” – the OWFA comments for BalticWind.EU.