While it focuses on the undoubted challenges of building giant developments at sea, is the offshore wind sector blind to what could be one of its biggest roadblocks of all right here on dry land?
That’s the fear of Raul Gil, a senior vice-president at cabling giant Prysmian who warned that if the global offshore wind industry really wants to have a terawatt or more turning by mid-century, it needs to start thinking now about how to get all that power deep inland, where the complexities of planning transmission are “far greater” than at sea.
Gil’s comments to a Recharge Digital Roundtable on global offshore wind markets chime with growing concerns over the transmission challenges facing the US sector, explored in depth here and exemplified by the issues confronting developers off New Jersey.
Recharge ’s latest roundtable also heard from Chinese giant Goldwind on how a contribution from China’s red-hot offshore sector could help it deliver the highest capacity globally this year.
With other panellists from the likes of Equinor, GE Renewable Energy, IFC and Green Investment Group, the event ranged over many of the key themes the global offshore wind industry is grappling with, including digitalisation, opening untapped markets and the rise of floating technology.
Floating wind’s growing significance was in evidence across the Recharge news agenda this week, not least with forecasts that the sector could deliver power at a highly-competitive $66/MWh off Scotland later in the decade.
The developer planning Italy’s first floating wind farm spoke exclusively to Rechargeabout its plans, while in a highly significant move, Japan’s largest power company, JERA, French government-owned financing body Ademe and floating wind technology pioneer Ideol agreed the “key terms” for an investment vehicle that aims to develop 2GW or more within the next five years.
That agreement was timely, as Japan this week fired the starting pistol on its long-awaited programme of offshore wind auctions, with a floating project first out of the traps.
Gas has a tendency to leak, and so do details of the intense debate over the shape of the EU’s eagerly-awaited hydrogen strategy.
Recharge this week reported the latest evolution of the European Commission’s thinking on H2, with intense focus on the respective roles of ‘green’ hydrogen from renewables and the blue variety produced using carbon-abated natural gas.
The latest shot in an intense lobbying campaign came from the blue corner, when the natural gas industry wrote to Brussels officials claiming that renewable H2 is too small and too expensive to spark a large-scale hydrogen economy within 10 years.