Hello Sebastian, could you tell us in a few words what O&M consulting involves?
We provide consulting for companies on all issues related to the operation, maintenance and repair of offshore wind farms. Our clients come from a wide variety of countries and industries. At the international level, for example, we are active in South Korea, where the first projects are currently being implemented. The industry there is still young, so it is looking for solutions and approaches that we have been testing and implementing in Europe for years. We see a similar but somewhat more advanced situation with clients in Eastern Europe. Solutions for efficient operation are also in demand here. We leverage Deutsche Windtechnik's many years of experience in all areas of service and apply it to our clients' projects. In addition to companies that are relatively new to the offshore business, we also provide consultancy for clients with existing wind farms, and we use our experience to work with them to identify potential for improvement.
Why is O&M consulting currently so interesting for potential clients and how can they benefit from your services?
For one thing, there are currently many projects being developed in countries that are new to the offshore wind industry. Eastern Europe, Asia and the USA have massive project pipelines. On the one hand, these large project pipelines are being developed by major companies in the offshore industry that have gathered experience in Europe. But a large proportion is developed either in cooperation with local companies in these regions or developed directly by such companies. Many local energy companies, but also experienced players from the oil and gas industry, are currently developing their first offshore projects. These companies can benefit significantly from our consulting expertise. There is currently a large and growing demand for this.
On the other hand, we see that the financial pressure on projects is increasing: Material and financing costs have risen sharply in recent years. This has jeopardised the implementation of some projects. A number of projects in the USA and here in Europe have unfortunately already been cancelled. Due to the increasing financial pressure, we are seeing a growing willingness on the part of developers to look for new ways to reduce their O&M costs. Our consulting team provides advice on opportunities to reduce costs, new risk distributions and alternative service strategies.
What are the most important characteristics of your services?
We differ from other consulting firms in the offshore wind industry in one key area: Our thriving service business at various offshore wind farms enables us to integrate our practical experience directly into the consulting we provide to our clients. Instead of creating purely theoretical strategies, we try to bring as much practical experience to the table as possible.
Which companies can benefit most from the range of services you provide?
As I mentioned before, we are in contact with many companies that are relatively new to the offshore wind industry. These are usually developers and utilities, often with government involvement. But we are also talking to major players in the oil and gas sector as well as operators of offshore wind farms. The discussions with technology developers in the fields of floating wind farms, offshore logistics and hydrogen are particularly interesting. I'm sure there will be a lot of development in the areas of floating wind energy and offshore hydrogen production over the next few years.
What happens when a client approaches you?
In addition to the practical experience that I mentioned a moment ago, we also endeavour to develop specific solutions. The service should be customised to the client's needs. This is why the collaboration often starts with an exchange of information or workshops to understand the client's needs and questions. We then offer a service based on the understanding that we gain through this process. This can be either a workshop or a strategy paper. But we have also been able to help with data such as error statistics. The solution always depends on the client.
Do you already have success stories you would like to talk about?
One example is a client in Eastern Europe that we supported with several work packages. That company is currently developing its first offshore wind projects and has a large project pipeline. We provided consultancy to the client during several stages of the project in a number of areas, including basic topics relating to maintenance strategies, training and further education of technicians, setting up remote monitoring for wind farms, risk analyses and the operation of offshore wind farms. The entire team and I greatly enjoy discussing such a wide range of topics and watching the overall strategy develop over time. Ultimately, it is also good for us as Deutsche Windtechnik to see that new projects and markets continue to emerge and that offshore wind energy is becoming more and more ubiquitous.
Thank you for the interview, Sebastian.