Associated British Ports (ABP) and BW Ideol AS, a pioneer in offshore floating wind, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to investigate the feasibility of serialised production of concrete substructures for floating offshore wind turbine foundations.
This investigation will reportedly be based on the BW Ideol design at ABP’s Port Talbot.
This agreement has been signed in preparation for the forthcoming Celtic Sea leasing round announced by The Crown Estate offering a market of significant multi-gigawatt (GW) development potential.
Port Talbot, located about 120-140 miles from The Crown Estate’s present Project Development Areas, is well situated as a manufacturing location for BW Ideol’s technology.
Port Talbot is reportedly the only port in the Celtic Sea with the scale – both in terms of marine and brownfield land space availability – and technological capability to fully exploit the Celtic Sea supply chain potential and the associated employment and economic advantages.
ABP owns and operates Port Talbot, as well as approximately 20 other ports around the UK. ABP intends to invest more than £500 million ($634 million) in Port Talbot to make it a major Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) centre.
The investment is part of ABP’s ‘Ready for Tomorrow’ sustainability strategy, which was launched earlier in 2023 and outlines plans for ABP and partners to invest £2 billion ($2.5 bullion) in decarbonising its own operations by 2040 and supporting large-scale green energy infrastructure and industrial decarbonisation projects.
Paul de la Guérivière, CEO of BW Ideol, said: “We can’t wait to start working with ABP at Port Talbot and we have no doubt that it will confirm that our patented concrete floating solution, which is the most compact and scalable solution on the market, is manufacturable at a large scale and will be able to equip future installation sites in the Celtic Sea while providing the highest level of local content.
“We have already demonstrated it in Scotland where we have developed fabrication methods able to provide floaters for the equivalent of 1 GW per year.”
Andy Reay, ABP Head of Offshore Wind, said: “We are delighted to be working with BW Ideol to understand the technology needed to turn Port Talbot into a thriving FLOW energy hub.
“ABP is looking to invest in new and repurposed infrastructure in Port Talbot to enable the port to host manufacturing, installation and supply chain activity for the FLOW sector, and are currently exploring the option of constructing heavy lift quays to link onshore storage land to the marine environment and create a GW-scale opportunity.
“This has the potential to create 16,000 new, high-quality jobs and attract £5.5 billion ($6.9 billion) inward investment in the wider regional economy. This agreement is an important step towards realising this ambition.”