Prospects for a next big frontier for US offshore opened up this week when California and the federal government agreed to advance two areas with potential for up to 4.6GW of floating wind capacity
The long-awaited move opens the way for lease auctions as early as next year, and means the Pacific state joins the East Coast as part of President Joe Biden’s planned offshore wind bonanza.
California’s entry comes not a moment too soon to keep Biden’s plans on track. Analysts at BloombergNEF warned that the president’s flagship target for 30GW is on course to be missed, with longer-term ambitions also in peril unless more states get on board.
Just as timely, given the key role floating will play off the West Coast, was GE’s unveiling of its design for a 12MW floating wind turbine based on a so-called tension-leg platform (TLP), being developed under a $4m US government technology R&D programme.
A second concept this week aimed at US offshore wind came from oil & gas veteran Friede & Goldman working with crane designer Tetrahedron to create a so-called ‘feeder’ solution that aims to cut the cost of building the first wave of sea-based wind construction projects in the US Atlantic by as much as half.
Back on the east coast, there was good news for Ocean Winds-Shell offshore wind joint venture Mayflower Wind, which acquired a 1.2GW grid connection queue position at the retired Brayton Point coal-fired power plant site south of Boston.
It was a tough week for Big Oil, as three of the world’s supermajors came under pressure over their climate ambitions – or, as their critics would have it, lack of them.
Shell was ordered to cut its greenhouse gas profile far more aggressively than currently planned, while in the US ExxonMobil and Chevron both came under pressure from shareholders in what turned into something of a black Wednesday for the fossil fuel sector.
Some analysts suggested that the floodgates are poised to open in terms of legal and investor pressure on oil & gas players.
However, the proof that, whatever the strength of their green credentials, the world’s fossil giants are now major players in global renewables was also on display this week.
And Total is no more. TotalEnergies is the new name for the French oil & gas giant after shareholders approved a rebranding designed to reflect its energy transition ambitions.
If the oil & gas sector was under pressure, the European power industry was in bullish mood this week.
Industry body Eurelectric said electrification of everything, directly or indirectly, is the key that will unlock the EU’s climate goals, as it called on the bloc to sweep away barriers to greater penetration of green power.
Recharge reported how Frans Timmermans, vice-president for the European Green Deal, said the EU aims to oblige, as he gave Eurelectric Power Summit a sneak preview of the European Commission’s forthcoming 'Fit for 55' package – which will include new renewables targets and carbon border adjustments.