Offshore wind power plants could operate alongside carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the North Sea so long as a close eye was kept on the sites below the seabed used for seismic activity, according to a new study for the Dutch government.

The study, carried out by geodata specialist Fugro for the Netherlands’ ministry of economic affairs and climate policy, concluded “both offshore wind farms and CCS [operations] can coexist” but flagged four key recommendations “to ensure the safety of future projects”.

These included: development of a 3D characterisation model for geological sites where CCS operations would take place “to determine the probability of an earthquake occurring directly below a wind farm”; monitoring of CO2 liquid injection to keep watch over pressure levels in subsea structures; installation of a sensor systems to record seismic activity at a site; and use of a “traffic light system” to manage risk during operations.

“Through our teams’ analysis, we were able to share valuable insights that ensure the assets of the new energy economy operate in a safe, sustainable and efficient manner,” said James Faroppa, Fugro’s director of marine geoconsulting on Europe-Africa.

“This study is testament to our ongoing support of the energy transition, and we’ll continue to work closely with our clients and partners to expedite projects and build programmes that further improve energy security, environmental sustainability and safety for all.”

The results of this study will be used to inform regulatory decisions and guide future “overlapping” CCS and offshore wind developments, Faroppa said

The Dutch currently have two CCS flagship projects, dubbed Porthos and Aramis, as well as plans to have over 20GW of power being generated by offshore wind farms by 2030.