QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
WHAT ARE OFFSHORE WIND POWER PLANTS?
Offshore wind power technology is one of the latest advancements in generation of electricity. It originated in Denmark, which is still the leader in this discipline. Other European countries, primarily Germany and Great Britain, followed its lead. Currently the development of OWF sector experiences rapid growth, which is caused by high-yield technology and support from the European Union, which makes this form of power plant increasingly profitable.
ARE OWFS POPULAR AROUND THE WORLD?
Even though OWFs make up approx. 1% of the EU energy mix, the entire Community generates more than 90% of electricity using this method, which demonstrates huge potential of this branch of power industry.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO BUILD OFFSHORE WIND POWER PLANTS?
High level of investment increases employment which currently is at the level of 75 thousands in the EU in this sector. It is forecast that further development of offshore wind power sector will cause further increase in new jobs. Potentially, employment in this sector in Europe may reach 250-300 thousands in 2025-2030, with approx. 77 thousands in Poland itself during construction and 4 thousands in the exploitation phases. Moreover, the generated energy is clean and renewable, which limits emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur and other harmful chemicals to the atmosphere. Additionally, structure foundations will contribute to the creation of new habitats for marine organisms, which will have a positive impact on marine flora and fauna.
WHICH COUNTRIES GENERATE ELECTRICITY VIA OWF?
In 2016 Great Britain generated the most energy from OWFs – 5.156 GW, which constituted 40.8% of the EU production, and Germany with 4.108 GW and a share of 32.5%, where it is planned to develop wind farms to reach a total power of 30 GW, forecasting electricity generation at the level of 60 GW until 2030. Therefore, significant investments have been made. So far, over 40 billion EUR were invested in OWFs in Europe, not counting investments in infrastructure, ports of shipyards.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT OF THE PLANNED INVESTMENT ON THE FISHING SECTOR?
Experiences from abroad, such as from Great Britain, show that the area of offshore wind farms may be accessible for fishing vessels and the farm itself may become a part of the region’s tourism landscape, e.g. sea fishing trips in the vicinity of wind turbines. It should also be stressed that the impacts of offshore projects on ichthyofauna related, e.g. with noise emission or vibrations during erection works can be described as small. However, at the exploitation stage offshore wind farms may have positive impacts related, for instance with creation of a so-called artificial reef, where fish find shelter and suitable breeding conditions.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT OF THE INVESTMENT ON THE FUNCTIONING OF MUNICIPALITIES LOCATED AT THE COAST OF THE BALTIC SEA?
The Polish law forbids locating offshore wind farms within a distance closer than 22.2 km from land (e.g. 12 nautical miles), thereby protecting the landscape values of coastal areas. The analyses carried out so far indicate that the farm may actually be visible from the shore during good weather – particularly from points located in the closest distance from the area of the planned investment and the points characterised by good viewing conditions, e.g. from the Słowiński National Park dunes, but they definitely will not constitute a predominant element in the landscape.
Foreign experiences also indicate that offshore wind farms may be an integral part of the region’s tourism landscape. For local travel agencies, transport companies and ship operators it may be an additional source of income as the investment area may become a popular trip destination. The offshore wind farm is also a perfect opportunity to create information centres in the region on offshore wind power, where permanent or temporary exhibitions or educational lectures may be held.
ACCORDING TO THE MCKINSEY & COMPANY REPORT, DUE TO DEVELOPMENT OF OFFSHORE WIND POWER SECTOR, POLISH ECONOMY MAY GENERATE A TOTAL OF 60 BILLION PLN OF GDP IN 2019-2030. WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THIS AMOUNT?
Three factors are at place there. 21 billion is a direct impact generated by investments, 22 billion PLN is indirect income that is generated by new undertakings by companies from the offshore wind power value chain, enabled by the primary investment. The next 17 billion PLN is a so-called induced income – value generated in the remaining branches of the economy by the profits of employees employed in the offshore wind power value chain.
It should also be borne in mind that almost 47 billion PLN may be generated by the whole of operations related with preparation and implementation of the investment. The other 13 billion PLN is additional export initiated by Poland-based companies from offshore wind power value chain, operation and maintenance activity of offshore wind farms as well as investments in power infrastructure onshore.
The greatest part of the additional GDP may be generated in three areas of the value chain – construction of rotor elements (mainly the blades), construction of foundations and related with structure erection.
THE MCKINSEY & COMPANY REPORT ALSO SHOWS THAT OFFSHORE POWER SECTOR MAY ENSURE AN ANNUAL AVERAGE OF 77 THOUSANDS OF NEW JOBS IN THE CONSTRUCTION PHASE, THAT IS UNTIL 2030. WHICH SECTORS WILL BENEFIT FROM IT?
In total, as much as 70 thousands of new jobs (both direct, indirect and induced) may appear during preparation and construction of 6 GM of power from offshore wind farms.
Other new jobs may be created in the exploitation and maintenance stage of offshore wind farms.
They key areas which will bring about new jobs related with construction of towers and offshore transformer substations, construction of nacelles, rotors or foundations, as well as in the sector related with erecting the investment.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT OF CONSTRUCTION OF OFFSHORE WIND FARMS ON THE POLISH SHIPYARD INDUSTRY?
Construction of OWF with a power of 6 GW in Poland until 2030 will require construction of 5-11 vessels used for assembling and 4-8 ships for transporting crews. There is a chance that these vessels will be created in Poland. Our shipyards already work for the purposes of offshore wind farms. So far, their products are exported to countries that already use offshore wind farms. For instance, the Crist shipyard (founded after the liquidation of the Gdynia shipyard) already completed 300 contracts for vessels that service offshore wind farms and hydro-engineering structures, as well as two erection vessels which currently constitute approx 5% of the current global installation fleet. Offshore market projects also involve companies such as Elektromontaż-Północ Gdynia (contracts for a British wind farm Walney II), or two shops owned by Grupa Stocznia Gdańsk – Mostostal Chojnice manufactures a transformer platform for a Swedish Lillgrund wind farm, and GSG Towers opened a modern technological line for construction of wind power station towers. Nauta shipyard from Gdańsk is also another important player (recently constructed e.g. a vessel for servicing wind turbine towers for a farm off the coasts of Norfolk in Great Britain) as well as MSR Gryfia from Szczecin (it has been manufacturing steel offshore structures for the last 15 years). Each of these companies employs several hundreds of people. With a surge in development of Polish wind farms, employment in this type of companies would surely increase a great deal.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT OF CONSTRUCTION OF OFFSHORE WIND FARMS ON THE HEAVY INDUSTRY?
In the raw materials and metal sector, steel manufacture segment would benefit the most from the development of OWFs in Poland. For instance, potential demand for steel in the offshore sector in Poland corresponds to 9 25% of ten year manufacture by ISD Huta Częstochowa. What is more, the development of offshore wind power sector may become the greatest steel-consuming investment in the recent 25 years. Discussed steel consumption will be at the level of 1100-1200 thousands of tonnes in years 2020-2030. In terms of copper, demand by the industry manufacturing cables for wind farms will cover 11% of one-year production of cables by KGHM. The Tele-Fonika company would be able to benefit from this order, as it has provided cables for the largest wind farms in the world for many years.
HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT THE INVESTMENT RELATED WITH OFFSHORE WIND FARMS WILL BENEFIT POLISH COMPANIES, AND THE CAPITAL WILL NOT LEAVE POLAND, E.G. TO A GERMAN TURBINE MANUFACTURER?
It is wise to use proven examples. For instance, a share of local companies is the key criterion of assessment during procurements for offshore enterprises in France. At a 100 point scale of assessment for a given investment, the economy and social quality criterion – which includes, for instance new jobs created by the investment – is a stunning 40 points. In the project assessment, only the price criterion is just as important and the environmental protection criterion is two times less important.