Danish state-owned utility Dong Energy will own just over 2GW of installed offshore wind capacity some time this year. This will represent more capacity than any nation other than the UK can boast. Dong's latest and largest offshore wind projects are based in the UK.
Dong has committed itself to rapidly building a larger offshore wind portfolio than other European energy companies. It holds equity in several large projects planned for UK and German waters, including the Irish Sea and Hornsea development zones. These should boost Dong's offshore wind assets over the next 10-15 years.
But Dong is also likely to sell stakes in some of its offshore wind assets, as it did with the 400MW Anholt offshore wind farm, currently under construction in Danish waters. Over time, Dong may increase the portion of its offshore wind revenue that is generated from installing projects for others' behalf.
The company's recent financial performance has been hit by lower profitability of its gas generation business. In comparison, its wind energy division has been a success, with profit (EBITDA) up 40% during the first nine months of 2012.
Nevertheless, Dong's wind division was recently the subject of scrutiny from the Danish national audit office, which may add to pressure to drive down internal overheads as part of Dong's strategy to reduce the cost of building offshore wind farms.
This year, Dong is expecting full power at the 630MW London Array phase 1 project, in which it owns a 50% stake. It should also complete construction of Anholt, where half of the capacity is under its ownership. Two 6MW 120m Siemens turbines installed this month at Gunfleet Sands 3 will be grid connected and construction of the 389MW West of Duddon Sands project will commence.
In Germany, Dong is battling delays to offshore cable projects that are the responsibility of transmission system operator, TenneT. The most pressing is Borkum Riffgrund 1, which Dong hopes to begin building in 2015. As reported by Windpower Offshore, its complaints to Germany's energy regulator have resulted in a formal investigation of TenneT's performance.
Making use of new technology to reduce offshore wind's cost of energy remains a priority for Dong. This week, it confirmed a deal with floating lidar technology firm, Flidar, to conduct a year-long test of the company's product within the Irish Sea zone. Flidar is a subsidiary of Deme Group, one of the biggest players in European offshore wind installation.
Floating lidar promises cheaper meteorological monitoring that is easier to commission, since it does not require installation of fixed foundations.