Energy transition

Tracking the Energy Transition: Decarbonization Efforts Continue To Move Offshore

Wind projects sweep across the globe; offshore wind and green hydrogen dive into the North Sea; and the Sunshine State gets a bit brighter.

Wind turbines in the ocean
Source: jonathanfilskov-photography/Getty Images

Petrobras and Equinor Evaluate Wind Projects
Petrobras and Equinor announced this month that they have signed an agreement to evaluate development of seven wind projects offshore Brazil. The project is expected to generate 14.5 GW of power and cost $70 billion with production plans scheduled to begin in 6–10 years. “We are in early phases, but these are realistic projects that we can build,” Petrobras CEO Jean Paul Prates said. This latest development is expected to help Petrobras’ goal of neutralizing emissions in activities under its control by 2050.

The Dutch Government Dives into the North Sea …
The Dutch government has announced plans to construct a large production facility to convert wind power into hydrogen in the North Sea. The project is estimated to produce 500 MW of green hydrogen after it becomes operational in 2031. The new plant will be connected to an offshore wind farm off the coast of the northern province of Groningen, where the hydrogen could be transported to land by using an existing natural gas pipeline.

… Followed by Lhyfe and Centrica
The North Sea will become a bit more crowded as energy companies Lhyfe and Centrica signed a memorandum of understanding to codevelop offshore renewable green hydrogen for the first time in the UK, at a site in the southern North Sea. The companies are also exploring the possibility of a partnership to deploy the technology at commercial scale alongside offshore wind electricity production. The development of this site is expected to help fulfill plans to produce 10 GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030.

Subsea Power Hits the Scottish Seas
A $2.4 million demonstrator project titled Renewables for Subsea Power (RSP) has taken to the seas in the north of Scotland. The project combines Mocean Energy’s Blue X wave energy converter and Verlume’s Halo underwater battery to create an underwater device that will be part of a minimum 4-month test program where it will provide low-carbon power and communication to infrastructure, including Baker Hughes’ subsea controls equipment and a resident underwater autonomous vehicle provided by Transmark Subsea. The project aims to show how green technologies can be combined to provide reliable low-carbon power and communications to subsea equipment, offering a cost-effective alternative to umbilical cables, which are carbon-intensive with long lead times to procure and install. This deployment is the third phase of the RSP project, which is being supported by consortium partners including UK-based energy companies Harbour Energy and Serica Energy. Each phase of the program also has been supported by grant funding from the Net Zero Technology Centre.

The Sunshine State Gets a Bit Brighter
Duke Energy has announced plans to construct a solar array pilot in Polk County, Florida, this month. The 1 MW floating solar array pilot will feature more than 1,800 floating solar modules and occupy about 2 acres of water surface at the company’s Hines Energy Complex in Bartow. Crews will construct and assemble the module floating system on land in segments before securing it with anchors in the water. The project will take approximately 5–6 months.

“We’re excited to get hands-on experience with Duke Energy Florida’s first floating solar project at one of our own power plant sites,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Unique pilots like floating solar are helping us better understand the capabilities of innovative clean energy technologies that can benefit our Florida customers and communities now and in the future.”

Major Wind Projects Reach a Global Scale
Several countries are looking toward wind power, as reported by the first-quarter 2023 edition of TGS, 4C Offshore’s Global Market Overview. Norway, Lithuania, Uruguay, Portugal, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Estonia, and Ireland are set to embark on their first offshore wind lease rounds. Using the UK, US, and Denmark as guides, the countries are faced with issues surrounding project development and delays in final investment decisions. Slow permitting, delays in offtake auctions, supply chain issues, and extended negotiations with the supply chain because of price uncertainties are among the top reasons for the delay. These issues will cause the countries to be unable to contribute to global energy production before 2030, with the average development cycle time from site award to first power being approximately 8 years.

Tugdock Joins National Launch Academy Program
Tugdock, a startup company based in Cornwall, UK, has been selected to join the 2023 cohort of the National Launch Academy program, run by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. Tugdock has been selected to work with Equinor on the pioneering Launch Academy program because its patented marine buoyancy bag technology meets a significant infrastructure challenge for the floating offshore wind industry.

“The floating offshore wind sector is experiencing rapid growth around the world. However, very few of the world’s ports have sufficient water depth and assembly quay space to build the huge turbine floaters required, whilst conventional dry docks are not wide enough as they were originally designed for ships,” said Shane Carr, Tugdock CEO. “Tugdock’s patented marine buoyancy bag technology is a solution. It allows floating dry docks to be delivered by road in modular form and assembled at the port to dimensions far wider than most of the world’s existing dry docks.”

Eni and ADNOC Advance Energy Transition Partnership
Eni and ADNOC have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding that outlines a framework of cooperation for future joint projects on energy transition, sustainability, and decarbonization. As part of this agreement, the companies will explore potential opportunities in the areas of renewable energy, blue and green hydrogen, carbon dioxide capture and storage, the reduction of greenhouse-gas and methane emissions, energy efficiency, routine gas flaring reduction, and the Global Methane Pledge to support global energy security and a sustainable energy transition.

“This agreement leverages the strategic relationship that Eni and ADNOC developed over the years, to strengthen our cooperation for decarbonization and for a just energy transition. It comes at a crucial time, in a difficult international juncture, and in view of the upcoming COP28, where the UAE, as hosting country, are expected to set out their vision for a clean energy transition agenda,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said.

Terna Invests in Renewable Energy Sources
Terna, an Italian power grid operator, has announced a $22.41 billion investment toward ramping up the country’s energy transition and reducing Italy’s dependence on foreign supplies over the next 10 years. The main focus of the project includes a hypergrid comprised of five electricity “backbones,” which will double the power exchange capacity from the south to the north to 30 GW. The project is expected to be completed in the next 15 years and to allow Italy to supply renewable energy across the country.

“Renewable energy sources represent our oil. Enabling their deployment and integration is part of our mission as directors of the electricity system and will be decisive for our country’s energy security,” said Terna CEO Stefano Donnarumma.

Japan on Track to Reach Decarbonization Goal by 2035
A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, backed by the US Energy Department, shows Japan could reach 90% of its power from clean electricity by 2035. A decline in the cost of solar, wind, and battery storage are among the reasons included in this assessment. Additionally, Japan’s power grid, with extra battery storage and inter-regional transmission lines, can remain reliable without coal generation or new gas-fired power plants. Achieving this goal is part of a goal set in place by the Group of Seven countries as part of a plan to decarbonize each country’s power sector by 2035.

Amp Energy Amps Up Renewable Energy Projects
Amp Energy India has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Andhra Pradesh to develop 720 MW of renewable energy projects. The agreement allows Amp Energy to create renewable energy sources and energy storage projects over the next 3–5 years.