IN A move well-timed for the imminent explosion in offshore wind farm developments in Australian waters international shipping association BIMCO has begun work on a global standard contract for the transport and installation of offshore wind turbines.

Work on the contract, WINDSEACON, was initiated through a series of consultations with about 65 key market players, BIMCO says. Following consultation, a dedicated subcommittee and a large sounding board composed of a broad range of industry leaders from companies around the world has been established.  

“During our consultations with offshore wind experts, it became evident that the majority of the market was using contracts reflecting a blend of construction contracts and BIMCO’s SUPPLYTIME charter party,” Stinne Taiger Ivø, deputy secretary general at BIMCO, heading Contracts & Clauses and Support & Advice, said.

“The consultations confirmed that there is a need for a targeted, balanced and commercially viable standard contractual framework for the offshore wind industry.”  

The project focuses on tackling the challenges faced by the offshore wind industry, ensuring flexibility in the contractual framework, and keeping pace with the industry’s continuous evolution. The WINDSEACON contract will provide the framework to make legal and commercial negotiations more effective and efficient, and the subcommittee is currently focusing on the transportation and installation aspects of offshore wind turbines.  

As the work progresses, the BIMCO subcommittee plans to consult and obtain feedback from the sounding board. The subcommittee will also explore whether additional US-specific provisions are needed, as the US market has different requirements than Europe and Asia when it comes to offshore wind turbines. 

In Australia federal and various state governments are encouraging offshore wind developments as key contributions to meeting renewal energy targets. At least four major players are known to be competing for projects off the Gippsland coast, for example, while licenses are also being sought offshore NSW.