Best-prepared Developers to be Rewarded Amid European Offshore Wind Auction Delays - Youwind

With the European offshore wind industry experiencing widespread delays to scheduled auctions, there is a pressing need for developers to closely manage the essential early stages of development to ensure the success of the next generation of projects and meet the goals of the EU 2030 Agenda.

Countries such as Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands have already faced delays in their planned offshore wind auctions for this year, with few European auctions planned for H1 2024 proceeding on schedule.

Youwind Renewables, a leading provider of web-based solutions for optimizing early-stage offshore wind development, has warned that, in response to these delays, authorities are expected to push for shorter timelines, as it is suspected that the best-prepared development teams will be rewarded while and ensuring the goals of the EU 2030 Agenda are not at risk.

With the average time to prepare and submit a bid standing at approximately two to three years, the business has emphasised the importance of addressing key risks and potential bottlenecks quickly and early – identifying five key priorities for developers preparing to participate in upcoming auctions.

Stakeholder Engagement: Before delving into detailed park layout optimization, it is imperative for developers to engage with all stakeholders, including health and safety authorities, local communities, and environmental groups - as well as accounting for vessel density by ensuring oversight over fishing activities in the area. By considering stakeholder input from the outset, developers can navigate potential challenges more effectively and build stronger partnerships to support project development.

Logistics Planning: With vessel availability posing a significant challenge in the offshore wind sector, meticulous logistics planning is essential. According to maritime market intelligence firm Spinergie, the current shortage of heavy installation vessels may result in a global pipeline of fixed-bottom offshore wind projects, capable of quintupling operating capacity by 2030, achieving less than 60% of this potential. Developers must assess various options and anticipate the need to schedule construction activities outside of optimal weather windows to minimize delays and optimize project timelines.

Understanding Wake Effects: Factoring in wake effects is crucial, particularly in congested wind farm areas like those in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Developers must account not only for existing wind farms but also for future projects that could impact their operations throughout their operational lifespan. Countries like France, Spain and Portugal especially must take wake effects into account, with collaboration on future wind farm plans near West Galicia and the Porto area already underway.

Mitigating Cable Losses & Failures: Understanding the impact of electrical failures on future revenue is paramount. Cable failures affecting even a few turbines can result in substantial revenue losses. Developers must incorporate contingency plans to mitigate the financial implications of such failures and ensure project profitability.

Investment in Advanced Modelling: In the race to meet bid deadlines, success in securing projects increasingly hinges on Investing in advanced modelling capabilities. Increased multisource data processing power has become essential to effectively navigate evolving market conditions. Youwind's robust features have supported five auction-winning projects in Europe and APAC over the last three years, demonstrating its effectiveness in accelerating project development and enhancing competitiveness in the industry.

"As the offshore wind sector navigates a complex environment, and pressure increases on bid timelines, it is imperative for developers to proactively tackle known risks and bottlenecks from the early stages onwards – and to invest in the modelling capabilities that will enable them to do so,” said Anna Rivera, Co-Founder & CEO of Youwind. “Managing some of these critical risks, such as vessel availability, will ultimately make the difference between a project that is successful and one that fails to live up to its potential.”

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