Asia's offshore buzz grows, energy islands making waves, and holy grail to Hollywood

  • Sep 10, 2021
  • Recharge News

Asia’s emerging status as the growth engine for global offshore wind was revved up this week by a spate of market entries by some of the world’s biggest renewable energy players.

First to Taiwan, which green power giant Iberdrola added to its rapidly lengthening list of target markets by unveiling three development projects with the potential to host up to 6GW that will compete in future procurement rounds.

Not to be outdone, fellow offshore wind heavyweight Orsted made a big regional move of its own by linking with a Vietnamese conglomerate for “multi-gigawatt” development opportunities there.

In the Japanese sector, meanwhile, German developer Wpd increased its presence by joining Japan Renewable Energy for a project off Nagasaki, while the nation’s supply chain received a boost when Dutch contractor Heerema came on board with Shimizu, the local player that’s building alliances with European specialists to help with installation later in the decade.

Asia’s centrality to the offshore sector was confirmed by latest market data from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), which tagged 2021 as a record year for installations thanks to a subsidy deadline-beating dash underway off China. Even when Chinese installations tail off, GWEC said emerging Asian markets will take over to keep the industry on an upwards trajectory – not least in floating wind, where regional markets such as South Korea and Japan will become global leaders.

It wasn’t all upbeat news from Asia this week, however. Back in Vietnam – and on land rather than sea – GWEC warned that almost $7bn of project investments are at risk from a combination of Covid disruptions and expiring feed-in tariff deadlines.

Energy islands are rapidly joining green hydrogen and floating wind on the list of hottest topics in the energy transition.

As in so many other respects, Denmark is leading the way with a tender that aims to spur a world-first artificial island in the North Sea planned to link to 10GW of offshore wind and multiple European nations.

A group including Orsted is among the frontrunners to deliver the massive project and this week called in expert help from three land reclamation specialists that have between them transformed the landscapes of Dubai and Monaco, among others.

Recharge revealed that the Orsted consortium may be rivalled by Jan de Nul, the Belgian infrastructure specialist that is considering a pitch of its own in the Danish contest

Jan de Nul may have a say in matters closer to home, Recharge also learned, with Belgium advancing plans for its own island to potentially connect a new wave of offshore wind off its coast.

If you had any doubts that Recharge has every conceivable angle of the energy transition covered, this should dispel them.

One of the most-read articles of the week was our report of what’s claimed as a breakthrough on the road to nuclear fusion power – to some the holy grail of the energy transition – by a team backed, among others, by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and Equinor.

If magnetics and nuclear physics aren’t your thing, Recharge is also home to all the energy transition news relating to ageing Hollywood action heroes – not, for once, Arnold Schwarzenegger, but this time Chuck Norris, who is starring in an ad for the climate technology credentials of Norway’s Aker.