Global coalition focusing on ocean energy established, and it has some big backers
A global coalition focusing on ocean energy was announced Monday, with its members saying they want to advance the “sustainable deployment of ocean-based renewable energy” and, in addition, mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“If we’re serious about fighting the climate crisis, it’s vital we decarbonise the world’s energy use as quickly as possible through technologies like offshore wind,” Benj Sykes, vice president at Orsted, said in a statement issued Monday.
Sykes added that the new coalition would work together to “accelerate the opportunity presented by ocean renewables to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.”
The last few years have seen the development of several major and innovative offshore wind energy projects. These include the 659 megawatt Walney Extension facility, in the Irish Sea, which was officially opened in 2018.
The scale of that project is considerable: it is capable of powering more than 590,000 homes, has 87 turbines and covers an area of around 20,000 soccer pitches. Orsted owns 50% of the project, with Danish pension funds PFA and PKA owning 25% each.
For its part, Equinor says it powers over a million European homes using offshore wind from projects in the U.K. and Germany. In 2017, the firm commissioned a floating offshore wind farm — the planet’s first — in waters off the coast of Scotland.
While the coalition is clearly focused on renewable energy technologies such as offshore wind, it should also be noted that members such as Shell and Equinor are major oil and gas producers. Equinor describes itself as “a leading explorer for new oil and gas fields” while Shell says it produced 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2018.
A number of projects are taking place in the area of ocean energy. At the end of last year, a Scottish tidal energy business was issued with a permit to develop a project in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.
Nova Innovation said a total of 15 tidal stream turbines would be installed by the year 2023. The project, according to the firm, will produce enough electricity to power 600 homes.
Another firm, Orbital Marine Power, is developing what it describes as the “world’s most powerful tidal turbine.” The firm says the turbine will have a swept area of more than 600 square meters and be able to generate “over 2 MW from tidal stream resources.”
It will use a 72-meter-long “floating superstructure” to support two 1 MW turbines and is slated to be operational this year. It will be able to generate electricity for more than 1,700 U.K. homes, according to the business.