First movers, late bloomers and floating innovators: a world of offshore wind
Each day this week Recharge has taken readers on a journey to some of the world’s most important new offshore wind markets, with a pioneering project thrown in for good measure. If you missed it the first time take the trip with Agenda now.
We start in Europe, the cradle of the industry, where Recharge in-depth articles explained how Ireland, an early mover that stalled, and Sweden, a latecomer that is now home to some of the world’s biggest planned projects – the 5.5GW Aurora filed for construction just this week – are now widely seen as key offshore wind nations in the making.
There is also plenty of action to come further south, and we took a deep-dive into a region where embryonic floating markets such as Spain, Portugal and Greece could emerge as critical when it comes to meeting huge EU-level targets for offshore wind.
To meet those goals will need more corporate ambition of the type that saw Norway’s Vargronn set a new 5GW target of its own and, as reported by Recharge in an exclusive interview, take co-owner Eni’s share of the 3.6GW Dogger Bank project.
More vital still will be smart policy support to back up the targets, as emphasised by the Global Wind Energy Council when its latest annual report on the sector warned that offshore wind’s massive potential could still be left unfulfilled if the wrong decisions are made.
Policy was also on the mind of one of the European sector’s pioneers, Orsted’s veteran UK executive Benj Sykes, who warned that Britain may need to rethink its auction mechanisms if it is to achieve the huge volumes of wind at sea set out in national targets.
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While in Europe it’s only right to take a look at one of the continent’s – and in fact the world’s – most exciting projects, Equinor’s Hywind Tampen floating array that will soon take its place as the planet’s largest at just shy of 95MW.
As Recharge Editor-in-Chief Darius Snieckus explains in an on-the-spot picture special, the project has not been without controversy due to its role in powering oil & gas installations, but its record in spurring innovation and taking the floating wind sector forward in undeniable.
Norway is rapidly emerging as quite a hive of offshore wind activity. As well as Vargronn, noted above, Recharge this week reported how Norwegian developer Deep Wind Offshore added 4GW to its international project portfolio via a strategic deal in South Korea with state-owned utility East West Power (EWP).
Recharge also carried an exclusive interview with the CEO of Norwegian utility Statkraft who gave more insights into its offshore wind plans off its home coasts and, potentially sooner, in Irish waters.
The final stop on Recharge’s tour is the US, and a look at the implications of the nation’s most recent offshore wind auction off the Carolinas where winning bids took a nosedive from the highs of New York Bight.
Few now doubt that the US will be a massive offshore wind market whatever the bumps in the road, and the mounting excitement off the West Coast was stoked when Deep Blue Pacific, a joint venture between TotalEnergies and developer Simply Blue, submitted plans for 3GW of floating wind off Oregon.
Back in the more immediate projects in the northeast, New York flagship South Fork finalised an agreement with a trio of environmental groups, pledging strict measures to protect a critically endangered species of whale local to the array’s development site in the US Atlantic
While offshore wind goes from strength to strength, the US also closed the week with a salutary reminder that the greatest plans can be undone – or at least badly curtailed – by the pen of a judge, when the Supreme Court curbed the powers of Joe Biden to limit power plant emissions – a ruling the President described as “devastating”.