EUROPEAN CONTRACTORS PLAY MAJOR ROLE IN OFFSHORE WIND FARMS
Both 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 saw a series of new contracts with major dredging companies for the installation of European off-shore wind farms. These contracts constitute a significant part of the turnover for the four major European dredging companies. (See stories below). In general, the dredging companies are responsible for operations such as preparing the seabed to receive the windmill foundations, placing them and backfilling with rock after the platforms have been placed to stabilize and protect them from currents and severe weather. Next to these activities, however, the dredging companies are more and more often joint venture partners and main contractors, providing both financing and managerial capability, as well as extensive maritime expertise.
Wind power in Europe is a booming business. Given the growth of major wind park projects in the last few years, the European Environment Agency (EEA) reports that the European Union (EU) is on track to meet its goal of supplying a minimum of 20 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2020.
Europe is the global leader in offshore wind parks, representing 90 percent of the world’s offshore wind power, according to financial analysts. Twenty-four of the 25 largest wind-farms are in European coastal waters, in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium Germany and the United Kingdom. According to the European Wind Energy Association, in the first six months of 2015, Europe fully grid connected 584 commercial offshore wind turbines, with a combined capacity totaling 2,342.9 MW. As of 2016 seven offshore wind parks are under construction – Gemini (Netherlands); Gode Wind (phases 1+2) (Germany); Dudgeon and Rampion (United Kingdom); Wikinger, Nordsee One and Sandbank (Phase 1) (all in Germany).Edit Module