Offshore wind technology has evolved steadily over the last 10-15 years and provided a steep learning curve for all parties concerned. The harsh marine environment has required manufacturers to focus on the robustness and reliability of their technology and challenged contractors to develop time and cost efficient installation methodologies for multiple identical units.
However, as large-scale deployments of fixed foundation windfarms become widespread in Europe, fresh challenges and opportunities are emerging. New projects in Asia and the Americas will aim to absorb the lessons of early European developments and floating foundation technology offers the prospect of deployment in deeper water.
Almost lost in this expansionary picture is the eventual requirement to decommission older assets or explore options to ‘repower’ windfarms by swapping out original turbine generators for newer models.
WHAT WE DO
Our renewable energy team personnel have followed the evolution of offshore wind risks over a number of years and successfully provided advisory services and designed insurance programmes around their changing profile. Examples include:
- Large commercial scale fixed foundation offshore wind farms in UK waters
- Prototype large capacity demonstration units
- Prototype floating foundation demonstration units
- ‘First-in-country’ deployments of offshore wind (Asia).
Core insurance products that can be provided across the whole project development and operational cycle are:
Supplementary coverages include:
Our clients also receive the benefit of broad, lender-compliant, policy wording which we regularly review and update to ensure that we continue to offer the broadest cover generally available in the market. The policy is designed to encompass all of the core insurance coverages associated with the project development and operational cycle noted above.
Our renewable energy team has extensive international experience of providing insurance placement and advisory services to developers, asset owners and other key stakeholders, such as project financiers.
Our clients frequently engage us during the development phases of a project.
This ensures that we can provide guidance on insurance programme design well in advance of placement and take full account of insurance requirements that may be specified by lenders and other key stakeholders.
This also provides the opportunity to challenge on behalf of our clients any especially onerous requirements that such stakeholders may seek to impose.
Market Testing Exercise for Prototypical Floating Offshore Wind Farm
The assignment was undertaken on behalf of a prospective investor and development partner in a proposed demonstration commercial scale floating wind farm. Prototypical elements were to include the floating foundation designs and early deployments of a 6MW turbine generator design from an established manufacturer.
The client required advance understanding of conditions of coverage likely to be available from insurers, especially regarding potential restrictions in coverage arising from prototypical design elements. This information was also required to assure prospective lenders that adequate insurance would be available should they agree to help finance our client’s interest in the project.
Our team were able to respond to the challenges posed by the project in a number of ways:
- Prior experience of design and related insurance challenges posed by floating offshore foundation designs and first / early deployments of new wind turbine models
- country ‘firsts’ informed the team of typical obstacles that can arise in such situations (e.g. unfamiliar regulatory requirements)
- Selective discussions with potential lead insurers known to have the technical expertise and willingness to consider prototypical projects.
In combination these measures and capabilities minimised the frictional challenges faced by our client to the insurance aspects of the project.
In the unfortunate event of a loss, we have a specialist team of claims personnel who have deep experience in dealing with large and complex claims across every segment of the renewable energy industry.
We act proactively to manage the claims process and the other stakeholders involved such as lead underwriters, follow markets and loss adjusters.
The team has heavy involvement in the claims process whether this is regarding interim payments, the appointment of specialist experts or site visits.
Our claims team have strong relationships with the leading loss adjustors around the world and are able to recommend the best resources to ensure that our clients’ claims issues are managed by people that understand their business.