Τhe International Windship Association (IWSA) has issued a call for the greater inclusion of wind-assisted propulsion technology in regulatory frameworks and for a level playing field for all energy sources, inclusive of wind, in international and regional policies and subsidies.
hen launching the ‘Decade of Wind Propulsion’ campaign last year, IWSA dubbed 2021-2030 as the ‘Decade to Deliver’ on the potential that wind propulsion brings to the challenge of decarbonising the entire current fleet and the vessels of the future.
Wind propulsion has transitioned from the perception of being ‘blue sky’ technology in the previous decade to gaining industry interest over the past few years. The conversion of that interest into investment is now taking place at a quickening pace
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said IWSA, adding that there are currently 19 large vessel wind propulsion installations in operation and that number will likely double over the next 12 months.
Moreover, a healthy R&D pipeline reported across IWSA members means that the number of test installations on the water can be expected to also grow substantially in the coming year.
However, although the number of wind-assisted propulsion installations in use is increasing and momentum is starting to grow, critical mass is still some way off.
Pioneering ship owner executives get it, many cargo customers get it, and financiers are increasingly getting it but there is a difference between ‘getting it’ and ‘investing in it’ at scale
says IWSA Secretary General, Gavin Allwright.
Moreover, as more systems are installed, and as more demonstrator vessels are launched more validated data will become available. This creates a positive cycle that leads to less uncertainty, less risk and higher uptake. Also, dependency on fossil fuels supplies is being challenged in the mid- to long-term with a marked shift towards renewable energy as decarbonisation targets are put in place on a global scale. This will push more ship owners towards wind.
In addition, the growing tide of regulation in the shipping industry is also acting as a driver, including carbon reduction targets and short-term measures such as EEXI and CII. However, one area that is lacking is that wind propulsion technology is not yet integrated into the international regulatory frameworks and subsidies enough, and this needs to change says Mr. Allwright.
We strongly support the returning of any proceeds from the EU ETS and the international system, when that is agreed upon, back to the industry to be used to lower the cost of installations and new build