Offshore wind to bring new opportunities to Binh Thuan Province

15:58 | 04/10/2021 Economy

Across the globe, renewable energies have proven to be significant job generators thanks to their long-term, sophisticated supply chain.

According to a global job study, "Measuring the socio-economics of transition: Focus on jobs", issued by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), jobs in the renewable sector and energy efficiency are forecasted to surpass those in conventional energies by 2050 globally. Furthermore, jobs in renewables could witness the most significant growth by reaching 42 million in 2050 if governments take more proactive policies toward energy transformation, as shown in the below graph.

offshore wind to bring new opportunities to binh thuan province
Global jobs in the energy sector (2017 and 2050) - Source: "Measuring the socio-economics of transition: Focus on jobs", issued by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

As one of the fast-growing renewable energy sources, offshore wind energy could potentially offer not only a clean and reliable energy source to Vietnam but more tangible benefits to the local communities, including long-term job creation.

Binh Thuan Province is one of the windiest areas in Vietnam that attracts multi-billion USD investments in offshore wind projects. In early 2021, the World Bank consultant BVG Associates conducted a study about the potential economic benefits of the 3.5 GW La Gan Offshore Wind Project, led and developed by the Danish renewable energy developer Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

BVG Associates forecasted that the La Gan Project, over its project lifetime, could contribute around 4.4 billion US dollars and create more than 45,000 direct jobs to the Vietnamese economy. Among the jobs created in different stages, the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) phase will play a crucial role in creating long-term value for the local communities in Binh Thuan Province. Each year, the La Gan Project is forecasted to create over 1,000 direct jobs when the wind farm is fully operational.

Offshore wind O&M

O&M for an offshore wind farm is a complex process that requires different levels of skills and long-term commitments from the wind farm operator. It involves a range of relevant services to ensure asset integrity of critical components such as offshore wind turbines, foundations, and the offshore and onshore transmission system. The wind farm operator will be required to establish local offices and an organization to cover project operation, maintenance, and asset management 24/7 for the entire lifetime of the wind farm which is normally around 25 years.

offshore wind to bring new opportunities to binh thuan province
Overview of the offshore wind operation and maintenance activities (Source: A Guide to UK Offshore Wind Operations and Maintenance published by the Scottish Enterprise and The Crown Estate)

To manage the daily O&M activities, the wind farm operator will typically establish a local O&M base with full office functionality, storage and maintenance, control center, and crew area. The O&M base needs to be close to the wind farm site with access to the quayside to handle daily activities swiftly. The O&M base will handle daily on-site inspections, performance monitoring, corrective and preventive maintenance, marine coordination, HSE (Health – Safety – Environment) management, compliance activities, and government coordination. Typically, the wind farm operator uses Crew-Transfer-Vessel (CTV) or Service Operation Vessel (SOV) to perform daily works in the offshore site depending on the distance from shore. In certain cases, helicopters are also used to support offshore operations.

offshore wind to bring new opportunities to binh thuan province

Overview of the Crew Transfer Vessel and Service Operation Vessel used in offshore wind farm O&M

What does it mean to local communities in Binh Thuan?

O&M activities are key to an offshore wind farm's productivity and success. A large-scale offshore wind farm like the La Gan Project cannot operate without a large group of resources with relevant skills and experiences and, therefore it makes the most sense for the wind farm operator to utilize the local talents as much as possible and share the fruits with the local communities.

Offshore wind farm O&M requires a range of skills to cover corporate activities, such as office administration, HR, contract management, HSE management, commercial and legal management. In addition, skills are required to cover technical works, such as electrical and structural engineering, marine transportation, and software engineering.

offshore wind to bring new opportunities to binh thuan province

Green collar cultivation and training programs for the local communities (Source: CIP’s projects in Chinese Taipei)

To cultivate local talents with the skills needed in the O&M phase, offshore wind farm developers are motivated to take proactive approaches by encouraging the collaboration between local and international academia for industrial classes and initiating programs of the "Green Collar" training in local communities. In addition, workforces in areas such as shipbuilding or oil and gas also have a greater chance to adapt their skillset and experience to offshore wind.

In the long run, the operation and maintenance of an offshore wind farm will bring new opportunities to local businesses and communities in Binh Thuan. A new group of highly skilled local talents for offshore wind O&M will also have the chance to thrive in a global industry for the coming decades.