By: Alexandra Rowan
According to a new report released by Douglas Westwood on 10 August 2010, over 2200 commercial divers will be required to help build and develop Europe’s offshore wind sector over the next six years. On a commission from the Underwater Centre, Douglas Westwood studied the number of divers required to meet the renewable energy targets set by European governments, with special focus on the installation and maintenance phases of offshore wind farm development over the next six years.
About 1700 divers will be needed for the installation phase, when 17.7GW is expected to come online. In 2013, demand will peak with 500 divers working mostly for the UK and Germany. By 2016, another 500 divers will work for the operations and maintenance phases of the 3800 turbines schedules to come online in Europe that year.
Before 2008, more turbines were in depths ranging between 10-19m. However, 90% of new projects are in depths over 20m. With the expected increase of turbines in over 40m of water for 2010-2016, a majority of divers needed for the installation phase will dive in depths from 20-39m. During the operational phase, 1.3 divers will be needed for every 10 turbines installed.
According to Steve Ham, general manager of the Underwater Centre, the new report underlines the importance of commercial divers for the offshore wind farm sector, and reinforces the Centre’s message of the danger of demand outstripping the availability of trained subsea personnel in the future.