At a time when we are getting unrelenting negative headlines about offshore wind, with tales of supply chain woes, increasing costs, projects in the UK and US hading back the power purchase contracts they had obtained previously, oil&gas companies seemingly pulling back from the sector, and the stock market valuations of renewable energy companies tanking, it is worth stepping back from a minute and look at the long term prospects of the sector, focusing on a few enduring truths.
For so much of the USA, which has myriad opportunities for onshore wind & solar, and transmission networks that are universally inadequate for the scale of opportunity & need, the only commercial attribute offshore wind has going for it is higher capacity factors. The needed major onshore transmission expansions for offshore may not align well with needed onshore expansions, and vice versa. Onshore has better supporting infrastructure for current turbine sizes and doesn’t need enabling mega investments, e.g., in ports & vessels, to enable project construction - which also brings difference in project lead times (transmission additions aside). I wonder about the relative feasibility & costs of decommissioning and repowering, and the relative amounts & costs of foundation materials. Obviously the cost of getting offshore site control is orders of magnitude higher than onshore. On- and offshore wind both have public acceptance issues with somewhat overlapping communities needing engagement - neither gets a free ride. I also wonder about the relative proportionate impacts of military airspace restrictions on total development potential - many offshore areas are restricted. I also wonder if offshore is or has the risk of being more impacted by avian issues - certainly tracking injuries is different. What do we know about seabirds’ physiology and behavior compared to the decades of raptor research that’s gone into evaluating these risks at onshore projects???
Would offshore wind add to US energy supply security & reliability issues? Access to cable junctions and miles of main gen tie to the shore is all underwater. We’ve seen what can happen to dependency on underwater energy supply when the Nordstream pipelines were blown up w/o an acknowledged culprit. Or is this a non issue because all the US offshore development zones are monitored by underwater military hydrophones but how would an intrusion be responded to in time to prevent - and how will that security question be answered when the network is secret? Or will the US build and become dependent on many GWs of offshore connected by a small number of ocean gen ties that’d cause blackouts when there’s an outage??? This generation strategy raises a system reliability issue. How to provide sufficient reserve margin when 1+GW of wind has an unplanned outage that takes a long time to restore? Will that be financialized with reserves derivatives, larger long term storage or ??? Clearly, there’s a lot of difference in system reliability planning between megaGW plants on a few radial gen ties and a diversity of onshore locations across a network hosting smaller facilities. What strategy is going to provide the lowest cost and most reliable electric system???!
Good point on risk-weighted; though it would probably make the UK uninvestable if the O&G industry teaches us anything (both tounge in cheek and semi-serious)
The entire energy / power production portfolio is capital intensive and therefore heavily leveraged to interest rates across the range of producers.
I'm not sure why you argue that Wind, of all these producers gets a pass - or maybe I missed the point. Or the unspoken point being; given lower return expectations (and some fairly heroic long term production assumptions) Wind is particularly affected by cost of capital.
I'd argue, that today's downturn is directly attributable to very poor capital allocation to Offshore Wind. An analysis of a Norwegian State Energy company by an IB in 2020 indicated that if it was being entirely return driven it would sell its renewable (largely wind) portfolio as itbwa valued significantly higher than its DCF. It didn't, for other reasons.
I'm being intentionally reductionist to make a point.
My last one being; I've been part of a FPSO centric oil field start of production West of Shetland - on time and on budget. The last person I listened to was my banker.
Brilliant analysis from an experienced perspective. Leave the production lines alone so they can amortize their investment, and please, industry leaders, stop welcoming the fossil industry into our sector. They simply have other goals, as we will see in COP28. Mercy, Jérôme