Faced with volatile energy prices, climate change and concerns about security of supply, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power are without doubt the way forward in achieving ambitious targets set by governing bodies. To help achieve this, offshore wind energy will be integral. One ancillary service that are vital to this are crew transfer vessels (CTV). CTVs are vital in the wind supply chain which ensures the safe and efficient transport of technicians and equipment during both construction and operation. Today, wind farms are the most popular type of offshore renewable energy and compared to onshore, they have numerous advantages: the speed and strength of the wind is greater in the ocean, visual impact and noise levels are reduced, they are larger in size, meaning more energy is collected and they have a minimal impact on ocean ecosystems. Since our first interaction with CEO, Martin Rice and his team, they have clearly understood the untapped potential of offshore energy in the current climate and Farra Marine Limited (“Farra”) is well placed to add significant value.
The scale of the ambition in Europe for offshore wind is only growing – as it must for the EU to reach its target of having at least 300GW of turbines at sea by 2050. According to WindEurope, Europe installed 17 GW of new wind capacity in 2021. This is not even half of what the EU should be building, to be on track to deliver its 2030 Climate and Energy goals.
Cumulative and annual offshore wind installations 2020-2021
Traditionally, onshore projects dominate the wind power sector’s project pipeline. At present, 93% of global wind power capacity is onshore, but with better technology, lower costs, and more policy support for renewable energy, offshore wind power is becoming more attractive. These factors coupled with built-in advantages such as proximity to coastal demand centres can close the gap with onshore. Offshore wind capacity is projected to more than triple by 2027. Even since the start of the new year, there have been movements in Europe where Germany has published a new development plan which maps the build-out of offshore wind by 2030. The country expects to reach 30GW of capacity connected to the grid while in Poland there has been a JV agreed between Spain’s GRI Renewables and the Polish Industrial Development Agency for the construction of a new €200m offshore wind tower factory. Closer to home, the Irish Government has approved terms for the country’s first auction to supply electricity from offshore wind under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1) which is expected to secure up to 2.5 GW of offshore wind capacity.
CTVs are specialist vessels with only c.330 currently in operation in Europe, the vast majority of which are in use in the key offshore wind markets of the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Windfarm developers are now gravitating towards CTV operators who can offer modern, reliable, fuel-efficient CTVs as well as quality service. Farra is deploying state of art CTVs including the latest designs and technologies with specific enhancements incorporated by the Farra team based on their experience of the sector. Their most recent vessel additions have been fitted out with Tier III Volvo engines, the latest low carbon emission technology offered by Volvo and the first of these CTVs to be delivered globally. The vessels have the ability to run on low emission sustainable fuels, significantly decreasing the carbon footprint associated with the operation of the vessels. The company is building a reputation as an extremely high-quality and reliable operator. Consequently, charter opportunities have increased for 2023 and 2024.The management team with over 35 years’ experience is uniquely placed to provide a first-class service to an ever-growing industry appetite.
What’s next for Farra?
Combined with Cantor Fitzgerald direct client investment, Farra has begun expanding its fleet to meet the forecasted demand for the coming years with a current aim of fourteen vessels by year-end 2024. With robust supplier and customer relationships coupled with a fragmented European CTV market, Farra’s potential to play a leading role is promising. The Farra team has an exciting journey ahead, which we at Cantor look forward to keeping a close eye on!