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Proactive equipment measures vital to offshore wind development

Published:  28 June, 2023

Given recent warnings of forthcoming supply constraints in the wind sector, Aggreko has announced it has updated its offshore equipment offering with oil-free air compressors.

The Global Wind Energy Council has warned that the wind sector is likely to face a supply chain crunch this decade, with the potential for supply bottlenecks of key components[1]. According to the industry body, current ‘space capacity’ in wind energy manufacturing is ‘likely to disappear by 2026.’

This is in the backdrop of ambitious renewable energy projects across Europe. The UK, for instance, aims to triple offshore wind capacity to 50GW by 2030[2] and just last month Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark pledged to build at least 150GW by 2050[3].

To support Europe’s developing renewable energy sector, Aggreko has recently expanded its rental fleet with oil-free air compressors – a component crucial to create bubble curtains surrounding offshore facilities.

Russell Brown, Product Manager Oil-Free Air at Aggreko, told us: “With demand expecting to surpass supply by 2026, the offshore wind sector may be left with equipment shortages and long waiting times. This will not only impact the profitability of individual projects, but forestall the development of wind energy, restricting Europe’s ability to hit ambitious energy targets.

“These warnings underline Aggreko’s decision to expand its rental fleet with new oil-free air compressors, a key component for offshore wind facilities. By partnering with suppliers who take a proactive approach to bolstering supply of necessary equipment, facilities will be well-placed to mitigate difficulties associated with the decade’s forthcoming supply chain squeeze.”

Air compressors are vital to produce bubble curtains which surround offshore facilities. Without these, the underwater noise pollution can result in deafness or disorientation to nearby sea mammals.

According to Aggreko, it is also crucial air compressors are oil-free due to the enormous environmental consequences to the surrounding aquatic area of undersea oil contamination. Rising operating costs further lends to the importance of energy-efficiency – Aggreko’s models, for example, are powered by variable speed drives (VSD) for the electric models and modern Stage V engines on the diesel models, thus reducing both costs and emissions.

Brown concludes: “Hired procurement strategies can give organisations the dynamism to avoid long waiting times and the pressures resulting from capex. Moreover, as efforts to adopt renewable energy sources are ramped up, it is also crucial suppliers pre-empt uplifts in demand with updated equipment offerings.”



[2] - :~:text=To%20accelerate%20this%20process%20the%20UK%20Energy%20Strategy,which%20only%201%20GW%20would%20have%20been%20floating.


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