Energy islands, floating wind and hydrogen 'stupidity': countdown to COP26

  • Oct 15, 2021
  • Recharge News

The countdown is on to the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow at the end of October, in what is being widely billed as a make-or-break moment in the fight against global heating.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) set the scene this week when it issued a rallying call to world leaders in its highly regarded World Energy Outlook to call time on the ‘stubborn incumbency’ of fossil fuels that has left the planet way off track for the emissions reductions needed to avoid disaster.

That black to green shift was top of the agenda for a high-level panel of executives convened by Recharge for a digital roundtable as part of its annual Accelerating the Global Energy Transition summit. The event heard how equipment, skills, facilities, materials and even data from decades of hydrocarbons production in the North Sea will all be tapped to aid the transition to a new era of offshore wind and hydrogen in one of the world’s great energy basins.

The technologies and policies that will shape the energy transition in the years after COP26 were also placed in sharp focus in a series of specially written articles from Recharge, published to coincide with our energy transition summit and which we are now proud to share with Agenda’s subscribers:

North Sea 2.0: Scotland flies the flag for North Sea's floating wind future

Joe Biden's climate credibility hangs by a thread as the clock ticks to Glasgow

'Widespread use of green hydrogen in heating and cars is not only stupid — it’s practically impossible’

Are energy islands the missing link to make Europe's 'net-zero continent' dream a reality?

Taiwan's offshore wind dilemma holds lessons for the world

Boris Johnson's net-zero power plan in peril if offshore wind gets stuck in the slow lane

As Recharge’s team on the ground can testify, the buzz around American Clean Power's Offshore Windpower event in Boston this week reflected the huge momentum gathering in US offshore wind.

News from the sector continues to come thick and fast from an industry that could mushroom into a $109bn market for supply chain companies in the coming decade, according to new calculations from sector body the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW).

The biggest announcement of the week came when interior secretary Deb Haaland revealed that there will be as many as seven offshore lease sales by 2025 in US Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico waters with the aim of speeding up the ambitious offshore wind build-out targets laid out by the Biden administration earlier this year.

A major new player in the US market was born with the announcement of TotalEnergies SBE US, a joint venture between the French supermajor and floating wind specialist Simply Blue.

There was also a clutch of news around the earliest prize on offer in the US industry – the 800MW Vineyard Wind 1 that will be the nation’s first commercial-scale project.

Most eye-catchingly, GE Renewable Energy confirmed its order for 62 record-setting Haliade-X 13MW turbines for the landmark project, the US' first utility-scale offshore wind farm, while Belgian contractor DEME bagged the job of foundation installation at the project off Massachusetts.

The project’s developer Vineyard Wind, owned by Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, was also active on the other side of the value chain, as it signed a “first of its kind” partnership with 20 municipal electric utilities in the state of Massachusetts that will allow them to purchase offshore wind power from its proposed Commonwealth Wind project.

The evolving US supply chain took further shape as developer Sunrise Wind signed a major manufacturing deal with Riggs Distler – the contractor that helped construct the iconic Empire State Building – to fabricate advanced turbine foundation components in New York.

Sector giant Orsted, meanwhile, will invest in Maryland’s Crystal Steel Fabricators (CSF) as part of component supply agreements worth almost $70m for turbine foundations it will employ on three contracted US mid-Atlantic offshore wind projects.