Millions of euros worth of investment in the production and commissioning of specialist vessels for the transport of gravity-based foundations has been put on hold by Cuxhaven-based manufacturer, Strabag.
Delays in the progress of many German offshore wind projects appear to be the primary reason for the decision. "Despite our progress in gravity foundations technology, we have decided to not invest in the construction of plants and special ships for offshore wind for the time being,” said Strabag chief executive, Hans Peter Haselsteiner, today.
“There are too many reasons against it at this time - from the uncertain legal situation and uncertain future of energy policy on the German market to the lacking storage technology for electricity from renewable sources and the lacking transport possibilities for getting the electricity from the producer to the consumer," he added.
Several German offshore wind projects are currently under construction – or will begin to be built this year - including WindMW’s 288MW Meerwind Süd/Ost and EnBW’s 288MW Baltic 2, with the latter having won €500m in project financing from the European Investment Bank. As Windpower Offshore recently reported, there are signs that 2013 could prove a reasonably-good year for the German offshore wind industry.
But delays will continue to be an issue, making it extremely difficult for key component manufacturers, such as Strabag, to judge when demand for new technologies, such as gravity-base foundations, will become a reality. There is also increasing competition within the foundations sector with many designs competing for contracts.
Strabag also holds controlling 51% stakes in 15 offshore wind project companies. Today’s announcement does not affect its investment in these firms.