All Offshore wind vessel segments look to be undersupplied for the remainder of the decade, meaning significant and prompt investment in vessel newbuilding is needed, if the industry stands a chance of keeping pace. In fact, estimates from Clarksons suggest that US$20bn of investment is required globally to build 200 new ships if the renewables industry is able to meet its 2030 targets for Offshore wind production.

Key Offshore wind vessels that are undersupplied include Cable Lay Vessels (CLV), CSOV, Foundation and WTG installation vessels.

London-based Clarksons believes that the reality is stark. “Unless we get more vessels, we will not be able to build out 2030 targets. Projects will be delayed or come to a grinding halt,” says. Failure to invest now in bringing those vessels to market means that 2030 targets will not be achieved.

If a combination of longer-term contracts, government-secured finance, and better lending terms were adopted globally for Offshore wind, we could see potential vessel bottlenecks quickly disappear, Clarksons said.

Significant investment in new tonnage is the only solution, but there is still uncertainty in some corners over whether larger vessels have a long and viable life. However, the coming decade is likely to bring unprecedented demand for vessels to service Offshore wind projects.

There will be a huge surge in demand for new maintenance vessels, Service Operation Vessels (SOVs), Construction Support Offshore Vessels (CSOVs), Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs) and Jack Up Vessels (JUVs) on an ongoing basis to maintain these wind farms over the course of their 20- to 30-year lifespan, Clarksons specialist team says.

Several new countries are making large commitments to building out Offshore wind farms, including the US, Taiwan, Poland, France, South Korea and Japan to name just a few. Offshore wind is truly going global with numerous nations now releasing auctions for new Offshore wind projects, but challenges are beginning to emerge, and there are gaps in the market when it comes to the supply of the necessary Offshore wind logistics vessels.

Frederik C. Andersen, Managing Director of Renewables at Clarksons, commented: “It is clear that we are at a pivotal moment in time for vessel development for Offshore wind projects. Right now is the sweet spot for Offshore wind vessel development; we’re at a point where there are opportunities for ship owners and investors, the likes of which have rarely been seen before.”

Mr. Frederik added that “at Clarksons, we’ve been successful at getting involved in the financing and building of new vessels to serve these projects. Last year alone we were involved in new vessel build sales for Jack Ups, SOVs and CSOVs, and the industry is only growing. Our specialist team is in place with the skills and knowledge to help clients capitalise on this and help deliver what the world is looking for.”