The Making Of A (Supply Chain) Star

Wind is “the tech of choice,” the International Energy Agency said recently, just as a new report by the University of Delaware outlined the opportunity in U.S. offshore wind: 5,000 miles of offshore cabling and 1,700 turbines, it turns out, are bundled into current state-side plans. Yet, serious observers of the first U.S. offshore wind installations saw inefficiency: unwieldy lifts; few specialist vessels on-hand; and cables were “just cables.” Supply chain innovation, people say, lags other industries.In Europe, where offshore turbines heavily dot maritime maps, there’s acknowledged room for innovation in turbine construction, support shipping and subsea. Installations here, too, can seem encumbered and slow. Cables and power are said to be “laid” when they could be better “distributed.”To “catapult” a new wind supply chain into the fore, Norway is inviting supply chain hopefuls from around the world to an incubator program aimed at making offshore — and especially floating marine wind installations — as efficient as surface and subsea operations in offshore oil and gas.  The Norwegian start-up program features The Sustainable Energy Test Center at Bomlo near coastal city Haugesund, where Equinor has left in place a floating offshore HyWind turbine so suppliers and would-be suppliers can test their wind-energy innovations. One of the program’s first start-up success stories is Unitech Subsea, which took over ownership of the HyWind turbine this year. Unitech’s offshore oil....

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