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Knowledge-Transfer Webinar: Offshore Wind

This week, the Women in Wind Global Leadership Program conducted its first Knowledge-Transfer Webinar of 2021. The webinar focused on “Offshore Wind” – the top area of interest for this year’s cohort of Participants, with presentations that focused on project development and technology. 

We welcomed two speakers for presentations and Q&A: Kathleen Freeman,  Senior Manager of Permitting & Environment, Ocean Winds, and Catalina Sarivan, Product Manager, Offshore Product Strategy, Vestas. 

The webcast began with a global overview of offshore wind data, including a look at the 6.1 GW of new installations from 2020 which made last year the second-best year in history for offshore wind. This overview also included a market outlook to 2025, where further growth was foreseen in Asia from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Europe and the US.

The presentations then continued with Kathleen Freeman discussing her experience with the Mayflower Wind offshore wind project in development in Massachusetts and US Federal Waters. Kathleen highlighted numerous challenges in the project development process (below), from lack of consistent policy signals which can create uncertainty to unstandardized and time-consuming regulatory and permitting processes. She then listed a few recommendations for policies which boost deployment, such as long-term RES targets which increase over time to support sustained wind growth, as well as interconnection standards.

Catalina Sarivan then provided a technology viewpoint of offshore wind, relaying the turbine and LCOE evolution in the sector from 1995 to 2024. She provided data on the average turbine ratings and LCOE for projects in Europe and Taiwan, as well as the considerations for fixed/floating foundation design and turbine design in hurricane or typhoon regions. She ended her presentation with a note on construction and value chain optimisation by bringing much of the assembly processes needed for offshore wind farms back to the onshore factories.

There was a steady stream of questions and comments throughout the webinar. Attendees asked about industry-wide approaches to project challenges, such as stakeholder consultation and transmission connection agreements, and whether some of these challenges could be approached collectively rather than by individual companies. There were many queries about technology application, concerning resilience of materials in a harsh offshore environment, turbines in areas with maximum tip heights and ways to drive LCOE down further.

This was a highly engaging and interactive session to kick off our series of Knowledge-Transfer Webinars this year! 

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