Postdoc The industrial organization of offshore wind farm maintenance (1.0 fte)

University of Groningen
September 14 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

With the increasing demand for fossil-free energy, a whole new industry has emerged: energy production with offshore wind farms. That industry has some unique characteristics.

For example, there are huge economies of scale in maintenance, which requires bulky investments in maintenance vessels too expensive to be efficiently purchased by individual operators or service providers. Manufacturers of wind turbines may offer maintenance contracts, but it is unclear what those contracts should look like. Operators of offshore wind farms may cooperate in the exploitation of maintenance vessels, but this may give rise to strategic behaviour. The industry has a unique structure in which manufacturers of wind turbines, owners of maintenance vessels, wind farm operators and energy companies all have a role. Combined with the huge economies of scale, this makes the scope for cooperation within this industry enormous but, inevitably, also the scope for collusion.

This project will study this industry from an Industrial Organization/Contract Theory perspective. Questions that could be addressed include, but are not restricted to the following. What do the optimal maintenance contracts look like? Should farm operators be allowed to jointly own maintenance vessels, and if so, under what conditions? More generally, how should the industry be organized to ensure that welfare is maximized? Of course, insights generated by this research may also be applicable to other industries.

The analyses are likely to be of an applied theoretical nature, but empirical (or lab experimental) work is also an option. Knowledge of supply chain management and logistics is definitely a plus: an understanding of such processes is essential to properly model the relevant issues in this industry.

The position will be embedded in both the Operations and the Microeconomics groups of the Faculty. It is part of the NWO/TKI Dinalog funded project, ‘Sustainable service logistics for offshore wind farms' (, as well as the signature area Markets and Sustainability.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess