Aibel and Hitachi Energy sign framework agreement with RWE to accelerate offshore wind integration

Aibel and Hitachi Energy have signed separate framework agreements with German renewable energy company, RWE, for multiple high-voltage direct current (HVDC) systems to accelerate the integration of offshore wind power into grid.

Niklas Persson Managing Director at Hitachi Energys Grid Integration business Sven Utermöhlen CEO of RWE Offshore Wind and Mads Andersen President and CEO of Aibel
From left: Niklas Persson, Managing Director at Hitachi Energys Grid Integration business, Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind, and Mads Andersen, President and CEO of Aibel. Photo: RWE

The agreement follows the signing of a Capacity Reservation Agreement (CRA) last November that reserves the engineering and production capacity to develop three major HVDC projects. The projects will allow electricity transmission from offshore wind farms to onshore connection points.

Under the global framework agreements, RWE has contracted Aibel and Hitachi Energy in a split contract model. The onshore construction work will be contracted during the development phase of the projects by RWE. The agreement includes the supply of HVDC systems and construction of the actual platforms. Aibel will be responsible for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) on the design, construction, and commissioning of the offshore platforms. Hitachi Energy will supply its voltage source converter (VSC) systems, to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) for efficient long-distance transmission to shore, where it will be converted back to AC for the grid.

The framework agreement stipulates how the three projects, and potentially additional projects in the future, will be handled. It allows Aibel and Hitachi Energy to manage resources such as securing supply chain, hiring workforce, allocating engineering and manufacturing capacity, and ordering materials ahead of time.

“The agreement with RWE confirms that we have a competitive concept developed in collaboration with Hitachi Energy, and a reliable common delivery model with a balanced risk-reward profile. The capacity reservation provides predictability and further strengthens our position as a leading supplier to the offshore wind market,” says Mads Andersen, President and CEO of Aibel.

“The deployment of offshore wind is crucial to reach climate protection targets. As RWE, we continue to drive forward the expansion of offshore wind energy in Europe and worldwide, because we believe in its long-term fundamentals,” said Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind. “Through our partnership with Hitachi Energy and Aibel, we are able to secure early the necessary engineering and production capacity for three major HVDC systems to ensure future offshore wind farms can be integrated into the grid. Given the challenging market situation, this type of agreement is exactly what we need to succeed.”

“We’re pleased to have been selected by RWE in this agreement to allow countries to achieve their carbon neutrality goals,” said Niklas Persson, Managing Director at Hitachi Energy’s Grid Integration business. “The energy transition requires us to deploy innovative solutions at scale and speed. This new business model reflects our strategic shift to becoming more of a partner to support our customers in their effort to strengthen the power grids for the integration of increased clean renewables into the energy system.”

Securing the capacity early and the signing of CRA demonstrates RWE's intent to accelerate the pace at which offshore energy can be integrated to the grids. The new framework agreement has the potential to deliver other possible projects worldwide.

The three projects are the latest of several jointly undertaken by Aibel and Hitachi Energy since the two companies announced their strategic partnership in 2016. Key offshore wind projects won by the two companies include converter stations for Dogger Bank A, B, and C and Hornsea 3 Link 1 and Link 2 in the UK, as well as Dolwin 5 in Germany.

Haugesund yard February 2024 Dogger Bank Dol Win Penguins photo Aibel Øyvind Sætre
Huge activity at the yard in Haugesund with Dogger Bank, DolWin and Penguins. Photo: Aibel/Øyvind Sætre