The UK Department for Transport and the ORE Catapult have revealed a plan to have zero emissions vessels working on North Sea offshore wind farms by 2025.
Namely, during COP26 in Glasgow, Maritime Minister Robert Courts announced the Operation Zero initiative, which will convene a coalition of 28 founding signatories from across the offshore wind supply chain from the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium.
These will include industry majors Siemens Gamesa, Orsted, RWE, Vattenfall, ScottishPower Renewables, Equinor, ABP, Lloyds Register, Bibby Marine, North Star Renewables and ORE Catapult.
Operation Zero will also consider the land-side infrastructure solutions necessary to upscale and maintain the operation of the vessels.
The initiative suggested that the industry will build as many as 1,400 new vessels between now and 2050 just for O&M, including more than 300 SOVs which equates to a sixteen-fold growth in less than 30 years.
In fact, achieving an accelerated decarbonisation scenario for North Sea O&M would lead to reduced carbon emissions equivalent of taking 240,000 cars off the road.
We’re bringing together 28 leading companies in the maritime and offshore wind sectors to drive forward our goal of having zero emission vessels in the North Sea by 2025 and demonstrate the value that industry collaboration can have on decarbonising entire industries
Maritime Minister Robert Courts said.
Moreover, ORE Catapult chief executive Andrew Jamieson, added that the offshore wind industry is committed to a rapid transition to net-zero operations and provides a fantastic springboard for broader maritime decarbonisation.
Furthermore, the signatories aim to identify the key barriers to adoption of clean maritime technology in offshore wind including:
- The cost differential between conventional marine fuels and alternative electrical or clean maritime fuels.
- The high capital cost of emerging clean maritime technologies and the need for demonstration support to break the ‘chicken and egg’ challenge. This describes the current situation wherein it is difficult for operators to invest in clean maritime vessels in the absence of clean maritime infrastructure and vice versa .
- A lack of clarity over future fuel pathways and the resulting lack of infrastructure and investment security.
- The incentive support structures for offshore wind in many North Sea nations and the downward cost pressures this places on the supply chain.
- Imperfect data concerning current emissions baselines and the performance of clean maritime alternatives.
- Challenges concerning spatial and grid constraints in ports and the high capital costs of infrastructure upgrades.
- The large numbers of existing vessels and the need to consider the challenge of retrofitting vessels.
- The lack of any clear direction in terms of targets or deadlines for transition to clean maritime in the industry.
With SGRE currently chartering in excess of 20% of all O&M vessels across the North Sea wind farm operations, we have a responsible role to drive innovation, collaboration and support the industry take the ambitious steps that are required
Siemens Gamesa chief executive for service Paulina Hobbs, concluded.
EXPLORE MORE ON DECARBONISING MARITIME OPERATIONS IN NORTH SEA
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