Keppel invests in OWEC Tower AS

KV Ventus B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Corporation Ltd. (Keppel) has today entered into a share and subscription agreement and shareholders' agreement to acquire a 49.9% stake in OWEC Tower AS, a Bergen /Norwegian based company. Through this, OWEC Tower will strengthen its financial position and be able to meet the growing demand from the international offshore wind market. OWEC Tower will also benefit from Keppel's presence around the world.


Trønderenergi Invest, one of the present owners, will also contribute NOK 5 mill in new capital.


OWEC Tower is a leader in the design and engineering of offshore wind turbine foundations, originally emerging from the offshore oil and gas industry. The company has developed a proprietary jacket foundation design known as OWEC Quattropod, currently the only proven jacket design for offshore wind turbines in the market. OWEC Quattropod allows to separate and optimize the piling and jacket installation process, resulting in reduced installation costs and faster project delivery. This was first demonstrated on Alpha Ventus, the first German offshore wind project.


- We are seeing offshore wind energy rapidly gaining traction around the world and a large number of offshore wind farms are under construction and planning. This will result in a huge increase in demand for foundation structures, Mr. Michael Chia, Director of Group Strategy and Development at Keppel said, - As offshore wind farms move into deeper waters with higher capacity turbines, a large number of jacket foundations will be required. With Keppel´s experience and expertise as a leading rig builder, we see good potential in supporting OWEC Tower to meet this demand in a cost-effective and reliable manner. Together with our proprietary designs for offshore wind turbine and foundation installers, we are confident of further enhancing our suite of solutions for the offshore wind industry, Mr. Chia said.


OWEC Tower has so far 62 jacket foundations installed at sea, and is presently the only company with a proven jacket concept, including jackets with preinstalled piles. The trend in offshore wind is to move further offshore and utilize larger turbines. As both water depth and turbines increase, a much larger portion of the foundations are expected to be jacket based. In partnership with Keppel, OWEC Tower aims to maintain its leadership position in this segment.


- We are thrilled to welcome Keppel as an investor and business partner, Bjørn Fjeld, CEO of OWEC Tower said, - When Keppel, one of the world's largest offshore and marine groups, invests in OWEC Tower, we see this as proof that we have succeeded in developing our foundation OWEC Quattropod to a market leading design and concept for offshore wind farm foundations. The cooperation with Keppel will enable us to further strengthen our position as the market leader in this segment, help us conquer new markets and grow our business considerably, Mr. Fjeld said.


Europe is currently the leader in offshore wind energy. According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). At the end of 2010 Europe had 45 wind farms split by nine countries, counting a total of 1,136 offshore wind turbines installed and connected to the grid. Combined, these have a power capacity of 2.9 GW and can produce 11.5 TWh of electricity in a normal year. Offshore wind will become increasingly important as European countries move towards renewable energy. EWEA has set a target of 40 GW installed by 2020 and 150 GW by 2030.


The huge number of offshore wind farms under construction and planning will result in a corresponding demand for foundation structures. Investments in offshore wind farms in Europe alone are projected at €209 billion from 2010- 20. Other markets like the American, Chinese and Korean are also expected to develop rapidly.


OWEC Tower, which co-operates with leading fabrication yards and contractors, is the only company with a track record of jacket foundation design installed for offshore wind farms. Projects include the Beatrice pilot test off the coast of Scotland (2006), the German pilot project Alpha ventus (2009), the Ormonde wind farm offshore England (2010) and the Belgian Thornton Bank project (2011/12). In addition, OWEC has an onshore prototype under commissioning in France, where Alstom's new offshore turbine is tested.

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