- Offshore wind farm developments will require significant upgrades and modifications of port facilities to underpin the handling and logistics needs of specialized equipment – primarily those that will be requiring larger berths as well as deeper channels.
- On challenges of grid integration, offshore wind projects will have considerable unique requirements because they will typically need extensive subsea cabling and other related connection infrastructure, hence, a more agile grid system is typically prescribed.
UK, Norwegian firms seek solutions to OSW port, grid integration challenges
At a glance
Investors from Norway and the United Kingdom who are placing their investment bets in the offshore wind industry of the Philippines have been reinforcing collaboration initiatives with the Philippine government on sorting out major bottlenecks that could stifle planned capital flow in the nascent offshore wind (OSW) industry – primarily those on port support facilities, grid integration infrastructure network as well as upskilling and reskilling of energy workers.
In a workshop jointly convened by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and British Embassy in Manila, and done in coordination with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a proactive exchange of views and insights between the government and the league of prospective investors have been stepped up so the entire supply chain of the emerging offshore wind industry can work together in fleshing out solutions to investment dilemmas.
According to Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Christian Lyster, the offshore wind industry is of prime focus to Norwegian investors who are eyeing to inject fresh capital into the Philippine energy sector.
“Norway is at the forefront of the offshore wind industry globally. Energy and the maritime sector are the two most important sectors for Norwegian companies and investments in the Philippines. The offshore wind industry is where these two sectors meet,” he stressed.
Given such immense interest from the Norwegian investors, the envoy echoed concerns on much-needed resolution of paramount investment challenges – similar to those that are in the ‘policy wish list’ of the other foreign investors who have been takers of the 77 OSW service contracts already awarded by the Department of Energy.
The Norwegian envoy further noted that “while grid, ports, policies and regulations are important for the development of offshore wind in the Philippines, the upskilling of maritime workers and other local talents for the offshore industry represent a huge opportunity for the Philippines.”
He added “the demand is already there! If countries are going to realize their renewable energy ambitions, thousands of new workers will be needed to construct and maintain new offshore installations.”
Lyster highlighted that “the Philippines is perfectly situated to take advantage of this opportunity. We are here to help make that happen.”
Further, the UK firms conveyed that grid integration and warranted enhancement of transmission facilities are among the key infrastructure development hurdles they would want to be resolved as they firm up planned OSW projects in the Philippines.
To aid the Philippine market on this sphere, UK’s National Grid as well as Norway’s system operator Statnett, had joined the two-day industry workshop by sharing their best practices on how an energy market like the Philippines could viably concretize smart grid systems.
British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils emphasized that “we have been working closely with the Philippine government and our partners to share lessons from the UK’s offshore wind journey.”
She qualified that “the UK has start-to-finish ecosystem of renewable energy suppliers,” expounding that “these companies are excited about the dynamic RE market in the Philippines. We are committed to support the Philippines achieve its offshore wind and wider renewable energy objectives.”
In particular, offshore wind farm developments will require significant upgrades and modifications of port facilities to underpin the handling and logistics needs of specialized equipment – primarily those that will be requiring larger berths as well as deeper channels.
On challenges of grid integration, offshore wind projects will also have considerable unique requirements because they will typically need extensive subsea cabling and other related connection infrastructure, hence, a more agile grid system is typically prescribed.
By far, the UK has already successfully gained its stature as the second biggest offshore wind market globally; and it is also home to the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
For such ventures, it was able to position OSW as a cost-competitive option in its energy mix, hence, its ‘best practices’ are seen helpful as the Philippines navigates it development track for OSW projects.
Beyond ports and grid connection dilemmas, the workshop likewise tackled several issues that range from skills and training for prospective workers in the OSW industry of the Philippines, then those on health and safety; as well as emergency preparedness.
In the roster of Norwegian and UK investors that have already started setting foot in the offshore wind sector of the Philippines include those of Corio Generation, Shell, Arup, BVG Associates, DNV, Carbon Trust, ERM and Mainstream Renewable Power; while those which shared insights and best practices in the two-day workshop had been Baringa, Kongsberg Digital, Rystad Energy, Low Carbon Contracts Company, RSK, Reactive Technologies, Norwegian Training Center and Vissim.
The UK, in particular, is aiming for up to 50 gigawatts of offshore wind installations by 2030; while Norway targets up to 30 GW of offshore wind within 2040.
In the case of the Philippines, the grand plan under its revised energy plan would be 50GW of offshore wind installations until 2050; and that will be the main component of its decarbonization-anchored energy transition pathway. ###