According to the report of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the global offshore wind market experienced a growth of 4.49GW of new capacity in 2018. The Global Wind Report acknowledges that, these days, there’s a total of 23GW of offshore wind capacity installed (20% more than 2017).

Even though the year-to-year comparison shows a 3.6% decrease (51.3GW in 2018 and 53.2GW in 2017) in new capacity installed by the total wind energy industry (both offshore and onshore), the total installed capacity increased by 9.6%, reaching 591GW at the end of 2018.

Listening to what Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC, 2018 can be considered a positive year for wind in all major markets, and China places itself as the leading power both in offshore and onshore projects. In forthcoming years, Asia is expected to be the driving region for wind development, even though this awaited growth is subordinate to an important commitment of the governments with policies fostering the projects in this field. With regard to capacity to be installed until 2023, the contribution needs to come from mature regions like Europe and the US, as well as developing markets in Asia that will have to guarantee a consistent growth.

In fact, Karin Ohlenforst, director of market intelligence at GWEC, declared, "Since 2014, the global wind industry has added more than 50GW of new capacity each year and we expect 55GW or more to be added each year until 2023. In particular, the offshore market will grow on a global scale and will reach up to 7-8GW of new capacity during 2022 and 2023."

Ideas for the years to come

A strong partnership is key for developing offshore wind potential in emerging markets and developing nations. In fact, the GWEC and the World Bank Group (WBG) are going to be parallel in this effort to make these emerging markets ready for new developments of wind energy.

This cooperation is a direct consequence of a new initiative by the WBG. This initiative is a new programme to accelerate projects in offshore wind energy in developing countries, thanks to funding provided by the UK Government. The UK granted £20 million to the World Bank’s ESMAP (Energy Sector Management Assistance Program), that, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will kick-start an initial $5 million action with the goal of helping low and middle-income countries implement energy solutions that are environmentally sustainable.

The first aim of this cooperation is to raise awareness about offshore wind opportunities in emerging markets. As a starting strategy, the idea is to gather all the stakeholders within the same network, putting together country governments, experts in the field of wind energy, commercial developers, and private partners to inform them on all their options and create the perfect groundwork for new projects that could be financed by the WBG and IFC. These bodies will involve both public and private partners carrying out technical studies, and give life to strategies at national level in order to facilitate the development of offshore wind.

Backwell claimed that "GWEC’s Offshore Wind Taskforce was established to help an increasing number of countries provide large-scale, competitive clean power from offshore wind that can help meet their climate commitments and their sustainable development objectives. The cooperation with the WBG is a significant step forward in this journey."

To share knowledge and raise awareness in emerging markets, the two bodies will have representatives of the counterpart sitting at their table in order to favour the diffusion of best practices. "Offshore wind is a clean, reliable and secure source of energy. We have seen it work in Europe, and we can now make use of global experience to scale up offshore wind projects in emerging markets," said Riccardo Puliti, senior director and head of energy and extractives at the World Bank. The WBG believes, in fact, that $500 billion will be invested in offshore wind projects by 2030. This growth is a great chance for countries with strong resources, such as Brazil, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. For instance, Vietnam has a technical potential of offshore wind of 309GW, South Africa 356GW and Brazil 526GW, representing a possibility for big offshore wind projects in areas with high energy demand.

Increase rolling needs

All around the world, there will be local companies involved in the process of rolling plates for the wind energy sector (no matter if we talk about towers or foundations). These companies are in need of solutions and customised plate roll that allow improvement in the process, save time, and roll both cylinders and cones in the smoothest, most accurate and fastest possible way.

In case of large-diameters components, such as towers, transition pieces and monopiles, or large-diameters pin piles for jackets, the DAVI 4 roll plate rolling machine, along with the patented high productivity line, is the right answer to fulfil all the requests of this continuously demanding market.

After inserting the geometrical dimension of the final rolled can, along with the plate material data, the patented DAVI software calculates and builds up the complete working cycle from the plate positioning and centring phase until the complete conclusion of the rolling operation.

Thanks to the customised and patented high productivity line, the plate feeding is CN-controlled during the whole process.

Firstly, the special positioning system, located in the infeed conveyor, allows a perfect plate positioning and squaring; it guarantees at least 50% time saving compared with standard manual system.

Secondly, after an additional mechanical squaring against the rear side roll, the infeed conveyor tilts to hold the plate while prebending; for more accuracy and time saving the front side roll raises to bend the plate and at the same time the conveyor and the front side support rise with full synchronisation in order to keep the plate perfectly aligned and on the same level. After the prebending operation is completed, the conveyor, the side support and the front side roll move down fully synchronised to bring the plate horizontal and ready to start the rolling phase.

Once the plate is back in horizontal position, the exit side roll rises up to bend the plate and start the rolling phase. When the can is halfway, the overhead support automatically rises to hold the plate. At the end of the cycle, in case of thin plates rolled at very large diameters, the front side support rises up to prevent the plate collapse and overlapping, thanks to special bearing fingers that hook the plate and pull it back to keep it in a perfect round shape. Finally, the plate is fed for the second prebending and the plate forming operation is over.

In case of cone forming, the plate rotation is automatically managed by the control system. It is done with a continuous plate rotation in case of thinner plates, while it is intermittent in case of thicker plates; however, it is fully managed through the CNC system in both cases for the most accurate and fastest cone-forming process.

The DAVI system has multifunction accessories that are used for final perfect plate edges alignment for tack-welding.

In particular, the tilting conveyor has many advantages. These range from single pass prebending to full prebending capacity available, from high accuracy on roundness to no need of rerolling. But most important is the safety of the process with no risk of plate falling or non-pinching.

DAVI high productivity line is a solution that many renowned companies have already chosen, showing how it is the best available in the market. More than 250 wind energy lines are installed all around the world, in both mature and emerging markets. Some of the satisfied customers currently working with the high productivity line for the wind energy sector include Vestas in the US; Titan Wind in China; and Bladt, EEW and Gestamp in Europe.