Diamond Background

The US government’s “30 by 30” goal – to realize 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030 – has become a rallying cry for the budding US offshore wind industry. And there’s no time to lose: the Department of Energy expects energy demand to grow until at least 2050. With most of this demand concentrated around population centers in coastal and Great Lake regions, it makes sense to localize energy generation to the areas that need it most.

Sustainable rigging for renewable energy

But there are some potential headwinds. In particular, building the infrastructure needed to install, operate, maintain, and decommission offshore windfarms is a major challenge. Luckily, the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a good starting point for tackling it, allocating $17 billion to modernizing coastal ports. In turn, these ports will need the right materials, engineers, and maritime services to carry out portside and offshore operations.

Thanks to its experience in oil and gas activities, onshore construction, and oversized load-hauling, the US rigging industry is ready to provide technical services for offshore windfarms – but there’s still one key question: how to do this while meeting developers’, owners’, and consumers’ increasingly high expectations for low carbon emissions?

At Dyneema®, we believe the answer starts with sustainable rigging practices. And there are three main ways our Dyneema® SK78 fiber can help.

1. Prioritizing local content

Ask any sourcing manager what kept them up at night in 2021, and they’ll probably have no hesitation in saying “containers.” The pandemic fractured international supply chains – so to achieve 30 by 30, US offshore wind projects are counting on robust domestic supply chains to mitigate international trade headaches (we’ve seen this approach work well in the oil and gas industry, for instance, with Houston becoming a dedicated hub for the Gulf of Mexico).

Where does Dyneema® SK78 fiber come into the picture? Dyneema® fibers have been manufactured in Greenville, NC, for more than 20 years, and since then, US-made Dyneema® has helped developers to shorten lead times across the country.

Diamond Background

2. Minimizing carbon footprint

Of course, local manufacturing doesn’t just reduce logistics headaches: the short distances also minimize carbon emissions from transportation. But there’s more we need to do to shrink the carbon footprint of offshore wind.

Enter bio-based Dyneema® fiber: our UHWMPE fibers made from natural byproducts of the wood pulp industry. Using bio-based feedstock cuts carbon emissions by five tons CO2e per ton produced versus conventional Dyneema® and by a massive 29 tons CO2e versus other fibers. Per ton, that’s the same amount as would be generated by driving a sedan for nearly 73,000 miles!

3. Leveraging proven solutions

North America may not be the global frontrunner in offshore wind – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it gives this region an advantage: the industry has a chance to learn from the experiences of Europe and Asia, where many offshore windfarms, already decades old, are reaching the decommissioning phase.

Over the years, Dyneema® has been a proven global solution for making complex rigging operations safer and more efficient. In 2021, for example, slings made with Dyneema® SK78 fiber were used to install 165 turbine foundations for Hornsea Two (UK), the world’s largest offshore windfarm. Bio-based Dyneema® fiber was used in the slings that built 111 turbines and two substations for the Greater Changhua offshore windfarm (Taiwan). And back in 2016, the nacelles for the USA’s first offshore windfarm, Block Island (RI), were installed with slings containing Dyneema® SK78 fiber.

To 2030 and beyond

US offshore wind has years of exciting growth ahead – as long as the industry can realize its potential without sacrificing its operational or environmental responsibilities. Thanks to high-performance sustainable rigging solutions like Dyneema® SK78 fiber, the 30 by 30 goal is in sight. But that’s just the start. We’re already looking ahead to the next milestone: 110 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2050 …

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Interested in learning more about Dyneema® for your project or end-use application? Reach out to our team of experts today.

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