With its unparalleled ability to deliver massive amounts of green power – often on the doorstep of major electricity demand centers where it is most needed – offshore wind is frequently cited as a “key driver of the energy transition” .
Fears that the engine is not running as well as it should have been this week at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, as nine other nations joins the Global Offshore Wind Alliance (GOWA) which seeks to remove obstacles to deployment, including extremely slow authorization processes.
Confirmation of the impending gap between ambition and reality came with the Renewables Consulting Group’s new forecast released for COP27, which predicts that only three out of 15 nations to define them will meet their 2030 offshore wind targets. (catch up here news from Sharm el-Sheikh with a handy roundup of the selection of Reloadfrom the cover of the first week of the summit.)
Two of the new countries to join GOWA were the United States and Japan, and Reload this week reported on the challenges facing these two markets as they begin their offshore wind journeys.
In the United States, developers – Avangrid, most often controlled by Iberdrola, and joint venture Shell-Ocean Winds Mayflower in Massachusetts – wonder how squaring the circle of power agreements concluded under very different economic conditions which now face great challenges to their viability due to inflation and supply chain issues.
In Japan, Reload reported how the nascent offshore wind sector fears the nation is falling behind and wants it to open the deep seas beyond its territorial waters floating development.
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On a more optimistic note, the unparalleled potential of offshore wind as an energy transition game-changer was highlighted at the end of the week when RWE won the last major Dutch tender with a subsidy-free offering that brought green hydrogen and even floating solar into the mix.
The Troubled Times of the Green Giants
Several of the world’s largest renewable energy players this week unveiled financial results or new strategic market plans highlighting the turbulent economic conditions in which they navigate.
Wind turbine OEM giant Siemens Gamesa, rocked by the global economy and other internal issues, posted a loss of nearly $1 billion as he prepared for a possible integration with its parent group Siemens Energy.
News also came from Iberdrola, the global green energy giant which said it was throttle its renewable capacity targets and emphasizing the safer ground of networks as they evolve to ensure financial stability.
The clearance of new projects in Europe has been cited as a thorn in the side by Siemens Gamesa and Iberdrola, and there was better news on that front this week as industry body WindEurope hosted EU plans to introduce emergency measures On the question.
Storage a hot issue
Long-duration energy storage technologies that can help pave the way for renewable-focused decarbonization are hot topics — literally, in the case of a spin-off based on molten salts from the nuclear industry whose CEO spoke exclusively to Reload this week.
Hyme Energy will deploy its molten hydroxide salts in a combined heat and power plant on the Danish “energy island” of Bornholm, with a view to becoming a major supplier of green heat for industries.