The experts at ABS Bureau reveal the challenges and opportunities in offshore wind

This is the first in a series of four articles with WorkBoat & Wind that explore the challenges and opportunities of the global offshore wind market with expert insight from our client the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a Houston-based company with surveyors and engineers located on all the U.S. coasts and inland waterways.

Anton Janssens, Director of Offshore Wind Business Development for Europe, reveals why innovation is critical in offshore wind to better support an interconnected future, and drive more cost reductions across the supply chain.

The global capacity of large-scale wind farms is expected to increase 10-fold, from 34 GW in 2020 to 330 GW in 2030 (source: agenda/2022/11/offshore-wind-farms-future-renewables/). While that reflects exceptional capacity growth, the offshore wind sector (OSW) in the U.S. and globally must resolve increasing bottlenecks across the international supply chain.

Challenges on infrastructure, components, financing, sustainability and the workforce are not specific to purely U.S. OSW. They impact countries and companies at different touch points across the supply chain. In fact, at the recent Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind Conference in Glasgow, attendees were informed that fixed projects are taking longer to develop and infrastructure investment is developing to meet demand for fixed and floating.

Developing smart solutions as to how the supply chain can operate and improve the way companies can work towards meeting the growing demand for renewable energy is a priority. ABS is actively involved with its clients using the latest technologies including “Digital Twin”.

During the fabrication phase, it helps to improve the replication of independent serial fabrication data across multiple sourced yards and assembly locations. This technology-based approach delivers a consistent end-product and also enables data to be collected at the very start of the fabrication process for components and equipment such as a platform base or turbine. This means that cost-efficiency benefits can be obtained from ABS’s Digital Twin process particularly when used with digital asset condition monitoring during O&M. It helps operators to optimize the productivity of the turbine with lower maintenance costs combined with a move toward Risk-Based Asset Management rather than calendar-based asset monitoring.

As technology advances, we could easily see future wind farms increase these lengths to 275 meters by 2030. This means the lifting heights and crane capacities will affect design engineering of vessels where ABS has been working with (Pre-FEED & FEED) design reviews and supporting development of new standards. Yards and shipbuilders will also have competing interest in capacity to keep pace presently for supporting vessel newbuilds to meet the development of OSW in line with global clean energy goal ambitions. In addition to yard competition, as we look at floating offshore wind assembly, more space for assembly is needed for proximity to docks with heavier quayside capability and water depth.

Rising to the OSW challenge needs industry leaders to recognize everyone’s interconnected roles in the supply chain and bring all our collective years of experience together to deliver the individual components that make up an OSW project.

Download the full article at WorkBoat + Wind | Vol. 1, No. 9 | 2023 risk concerns identified during various stages of a project’s lifecycle. Use the link at and go to Page 23.