Insuring offshore wind farms

Worker looking up a wind turbine (photo)

"Mitigating climate risk and advancing the energy transition" is one of the key ambitions of our Group Sustainability Strategy (for more information, see 2030 Sustainability Ambitions). We offer a range of re/insurance solutions to manage the risks of different kinds of renewable energy projects. At the end of 2019, we were providing risk cover to more than 4 000 wind and solar farms.

Offshore wind is considered one of the most promising renewable energy sources. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has both the large capacity and the technical expertise to help manage its complex risks. We are continually enhancing our understanding of these risks and share our insights with our clients as well as other insurers. As an initiator and co-founder of the European Wind Turbine Committee established ten years ago, we were instrumental in launching the Offshore Code of Practice (OCoP), a best-practice guide for risk management in the sector.Mirroring these efforts, we are now considered a lead market for offshore wind risks. In recent years, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has participated in numerous offshore wind projects, including wind farms, stand-alone offshore sub-stations and stand-alone export cables.

In 2019, we were involved in a number of new offshore wind farm projects, which included the following highlights:

First offshore wind farm in France

Europe continues to be the region with the largest number of offshore wind projects. Within Europe, the leading markets to date have been the UK, Germany and Denmark. Recently, the first large commercial projects have been launched in France. In 2019, we agreed to provide insurance to the first of these projects to be constructed, the St-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm (Parc éolien en mer de St-Nazaire).

This wind farm is being developed by Eolien Maritime France, a joint venture co-owned by EDF Renewables. Situated between 12 and 20 kilometres off the coast of the Loire-Atlantique department, it will comprise 80 turbines with a total capacity of 480 megawatts. When fully operational, the wind farm is expected to cover 20% of the department’s power consumption.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2022. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions insures this pioneering project with the largest share, both in the construction and operational phases.

Expansion in Taiwan

We also continued our strong engagement in Taiwan, the most important offshore market in Asia. It witnessed significant growth again in 2019, which led to tight insurance capacities. We were able to respond to this situation by becoming the lead insurer for some major projects: Formosa II and Greater Changhua 1 & 2a. Formosa II comprises 47 turbines with a total capacity of 378 megawatts. Once complete, it is estimated to displace 18 750 kilotonnes of CO2e over its lifetime, while powering the equivalent of 380 000 households annually. Changhua 1 has 75 turbines with a capacity of 605 megawatts and Changhua 2a has 36 turbines with a total capacity of 295 megawatts. All three projects are situated in the Taiwan Strait.