Insuring offshore wind farms

Offshore wind farm (photo)

We offer a range of re/insurance solutions to manage the risks of different kinds of renewable energy projects, in line with our 2030 Sustainability Ambition to advance the energy transition. At the end of 2020, Swiss Re was providing risk cover to more than 5 600 wind and solar farms, avoiding over 22 million tonnes in CO2 emissions.

Offshore wind is considered a promising renewable energy source. 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, are in contact with many stakeholders in this industry segment and share our insights with our clients. As an initiator and co-founder of the European Wind Turbine Committee established in 2011, we were instrumental in developing 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 power projects, including standalone offshore substations and export cables.

In 2020, we were involved in a number of new offshore wind farm projects, among these was the following:

Enabling the expansion of offshore wind in Taiwan

With a presence in over 25 countries, German-based wpd is one of the world’s largest independent power producers, operating 2 270 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 4 720 megawatts powering over 3.2 million households.

For its 640-megawatt, USD 1.6 billion Yunlin offshore wind project located eight kilometres off the west coast of Taiwan, wpd was looking for a lead insurer. However, Taiwan is highly exposed to natural disasters – particularly typhoons and earthquakes – meaning that insurers must carefully manage their risk capacities. As a result, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions needed to secure a strategic partner that would enable us to offer an attractive quote as the lead insurer. Corporate Solutions was able to find that partner in-house and in 2018 joined forces with our Swiss Re Reinsurance Business Unit to offer greater combined risk capacity as well as reinsurance cover for the construction of the Yunlin offshore wind project, securing the business in 2019. Despite travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we strengthened our relationship with wpd during the project phase through monthly phone calls in which we shared our expertise with the project team on the ground. Construction began in 2020 and, once it is completed in 2021, the Yunlin wind farm will consist of 80 wind turbines, which are expected to power approximately 605 000 households.

Swiss Re’s role as the lead insurer for the Yunlin project has further strengthened our position as one of the leading insurers of offshore wind energy projects. Not only will Swiss Re provide insurance cover for the operational phase of the wind project following its construction, but we are also the preferred insurance provider for wpd’s upcoming 350-megawatt Guanyin offshore wind project near Taipei airport, which is set to enter the construction phase in 2022.