Danish wind energy manufacturing giant Vestas is to take full ownership of its offshore wind venture with Japanese corporate heavyweight Mitsubishi, with its eyes firmly on the green hydrogen future that is likely to be at least partly driven by massive offshore wind projects.
MHI Vestas has been one of the globe’s most successful offshore wind turbine manufacturers since it was formed in 2014 as a 50-50 joint venture between Vestas and Japanese engineering giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and is one of the few manufacturers focusing only on offshore wind.
However, MHI Vestas is currently behind the 8-ball, in terms of technological innovation and the race to be selling the world’s largest capacity offshore wind turbine, with rivals Siemens Gamesa announcing in May a 14MW, 222-metre behemoth, and GE following up its 12MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine with an uprated 13MW version.
MHI Vestas was the first company to launch a commercial double-digit offshore wind turbine, unveiling its 10MW turbine in September of 2018 and which will be ready for installation in 2021, but has since lagged behind its rivals.
Vestas says one of the reasons of the $US888 million buyout of MHI Vestas is to deliver a “new offshore wind turbine platform will also be imminently introduced to improve efficiency and drive the levelised cost of energy further down.”
Demand for offshore wind energy has accelerated dramatically in recent years and is expected to reach 25GW per year by 2030, thanks to what Vestas points out is a 67% decline in the levelised cost of wind energy since 2012.
Just last week, British wind energy trade body RenewableUK published figures which showed that the global offshore wind pipeline had increased by 47% since January, despite the seemingly all-encompassing global COVID-19 pandemic, and sits at nearly 200GW.
“Vestas is the leader in onshore wind, but to accelerate the energy transition and achieve our vision we must play a larger role in offshore wind,” said Henrik Andersen, Group President and CEO of Vestas.
“Offshore wind is key to creating a sustainable planet for future generations and offers unique growth, and with today’s announcement we underline that we want to be an integral part of both.”
The move by Vestas does not exclude Mitsubishi from further involvement with the company, and the companies will together in Japan for sales of onshore and offshore wind power turbines.
Perhaps of even more interest, however, was the brief reference that Vestas and Mitsubishi will look to “meet customer needs across a wider range of the value chain”, including for green hydrogen, whose major markets will emerge in north Asia, particularly with Japan and South Korea.