Blog: The Dutch maritime services shift to Offshore Wind

Three drivers why the majority of the Dutch offshore/maritime-engineers will work in offshore wind soon

1. The size does matter
A sustainable strength of offshore wind against its competitive renewable electricity sources is that size has enormous growth potential. The demand for energy transition challenged engineers to develop many ideas to produce electricity in a renewable matter. Obviously a low Levelized Cost of Energy is a must, in which offshore wind scores reasonably with LCoE of 50-75€/MWh (in the Netherlands North Sea). More important over alternative renewable energy sources, size does matter! Compared to other alternative renewable energy sources, offshore wind is unique for one thing: the possibility to size-up. The installed offshore wind power can size up that much, that it can actually replace the entire fossil fuelled electricity production in the Netherlands. Good news for the maritime cluster. In the Dutch North Sea for instance, today 1GW of offshore wind power is installed, this can be scaled to 50GW. That is an approximate 2500-5000 (of 10-20MW) turbines. A lot of work for several decennia.

2. Wanted: new technology
When a market grows in size, a fleet of diverse dedicated vessels become more cost efficient than a fleet of many oversized general-purpose vessels. Tender by tender the fleet diversification evolves. The large developed offshore oil & gas market shows that the maritime services are highly tailored on the jobs to do. Don’t you foresee a maritime service development for the offshore wind that offers tailored cost-efficient solutions?

I trust that this will happen and therefore there is large demand for offshore/maritime-engineers to develop new technologies to tailor the maritime services for offshore wind. Again a lot of work for the creative offshore/maritime-engineers for the upcoming decenniums.

3. Sustainable Competitive edge of Dutch maritime cluster
Well, although I worked for six years in Asia, I truly believe the Dutch maritime cluster has a great chance for success. First of all, the Netherlands has a natural permanent strategic advantage by its coastal ports; the ports have great inland access, the muddy/sandy-soils allow easy depth-control as well as a good foundation for jack-up-vessels, the Dutch economic system is open and so on. Therefore, the Dutch ports remain a sustainable competitive ground to host offshore wind terminals. Second, on the vessel side we remain competitive. Although shipyards in Asia are tough competitors, for upgrading existing vessels with new technologies the Netherlands is a durable logic location. With respect to the new built vessels, I believe that the Dutch maritime/offshore-engineers are sustainably competitive. The main reason for that is the strength of the maritime cluster. The Netherlands maritime cluster services the offshore wind industry with: turbine designers, contractors, vessel owners, terminals, vessel designers, equipment builders, universities and conversion yards. Collaboration between the parties of the maritime cluster result in synergies that result in international competitive services. We at Tetrahedron foresee that we can even further tighten these synergies by automated engineering communication to improve the Dutch cluster competitiveness in the long term.

In a nutshell
Due to the upsizing potential of offshore wind and demand for a diverse fleet with new technologies we expect a great amount of work for offshore/maritime-engineers. The Netherlands’ geographic location and strong maritime cluster give a sustainable competitive edge in the offshore wind maritime services industry. If you are an offshore/maritime-engineer in the Netherlands and enthusiast to serve the offshore wind industry, you will probably be part of tomorrows biggest maritime service segment. The future is bright for offshore wind business.

About Tetrahedron
Tetrahedron is a technology scale-up company that develops a new type of crane (the Tetrahedron) to install the highest offshore wind turbines from a compact jack-up-vessel.

Wilco Stavenuiter