Brigg Vind report finds huge opportunities for Norwegian offshore wind suppliers

An analysis of more than 600 Norwegian supplier companies, the most comprehensive to date, has found enormous potential for the offshore wind supplier industry. The findings include widespread industrial potential ranging from subsea cables to the use of artificial intelligence to protect bird life.

The results are being published today in a report prepared by RCG Nordic on behalf of Brigg Vind, an offshore wind consortium at Sørlige Nordsjø II consisting of Vårgrønn, Å Energi and Corio Generation.

The report confirms that offshore wind projects in Norway will create significant value for society and new jobs by facilitating the establishment of a strong supplier industry to the rapidly growing global offshore wind industry.

Laying industrial foundations with cables and artificial intelligence

The report found that the Norwegian supplier industry has comparative advantages and strong potential in the production of export cables, foundation and turbine installation, and the construction and operation of vessels and transformer platforms. This is in-part due to the transferable skills and assets built up by many companies who are currently suppliers to the oil and gas industry, with many others already adapting to supply the growing offshore wind industry.

Norwegian-based Nexans, with factories in Rognan, Halden and Langhus, is already the leading manufacturer of subsea cables. Nordic Steel from Bryne supplies 360,000 kg of ventilation ducts to the world's largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank in the UK. Whilst Aibel from Haugesund, is delivering the world's first unmanned offshore converter platform for the same project.

The report also found, that in addition to traditional supplier companies, many smaller start-up companies also have in-built comparative advantages in digitalisation, robotics and software systems. As part of the analysis, over 40 Norwegian technology companies and start-ups that are ready to deliver new solutions for offshore wind were surveyed. With the tough competition that has existed in the offshore wind industry, developers have had to adopt more "radical" solutions to become profitable and sustainable. Spoor is an example of one such company, which develops software to protect bird life using artificial intelligence (AI).

Building a pipeline of experience

Whilst individual Norwegian companies have won offshore wind contracts internationally, the majority of Norwegian supplier companies have not been able to benefit from an existing domestic offshore wind market, reducing the chance for local hands-on experience.

Arvid Nesse, manager of Norwegian Offshore Wind, one of the organisations that have contributed to the analysis explained: “This report underlines the importance of getting our home market up and running. Supply chain companies need to build and develop further their expertise on projects at home to reach their full potential. It is remarkable to see the competence mapped out in this report.”

Another contributor to the report was GCE NODE, an industry-driven cluster for ocean technologies. Their CEO, Tom Fidjeland, commented: “The report shows that we have a very competent supplier industry in Norway, which will be of significant importance for reaching the Norwegian ambitions related to offshore wind.”

Lessons from abroad

The analysis also deciphered lessons learned from the countries that have come furthest in offshore wind investment, identifying two main areas missing in the Norwegian market:  

  • A specific regime for announcing new projects at regular intervals.  In order to invest, scale up and take risks on winning contracts, supplier companies need confidence that there will be a continuous stream of announcements and assignments.
  • Systematic cooperation between the authorities, developers and the supplier industry. The UK government is investing in infrastructure in partnership with the supply industry to build a solid value chain. Germany has made a plan for new capacity with regular announcements, infrastructure development and new jobs.  Norway needs to do the same to realise the full potential of the local offshore wind industry.

Olav Hetland, CEO of Vårgrønn, on behalf of the Brigg Vind consortium said: “With a predictable plan for announcing new projects and more systematic cooperation between the authorities and the industry, offshore wind can give Norwaya strategic economic boost. We estimate that a large-scale offshore wind industry in Norway will provide the basis for more than 50,000 permanent jobs and NOK 80 billion in annual value creation.”

The analysis has been carried out in collaboration with the industry groups Norsk Industri, the Norwegian Shipowners' Association, GCE Node, Norwegian Offshore Wind and Norwegian Energy Partners (NORWEP).

Find more information and the full report here.

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