Reading the Map: Addressing the Challenges Only Way Forward

The second day of the Offshore WIND Conference, chaired by Mike Blanch – Associate Director at BVG Associates – started with this morning’s session called “Future forecast: reading the map”, which addressed the path and challenges on the offshore wind road towards 2023, as well as up to 2050 and beyond. 

Discussing innovation within the industry until 2050 during his welcoming speech, Mike Blanch said: “Float and submerge will break the line between turbine size and vessel size, which will be a game-changer for the industry, resulting in lower CAPEX.”

Reading the map and looking at how to push the offshore wind progress further, Daiva Matoniene, Rapporteur on revised renewable energy directive and the internal electricity market at European Committee of the Regions, said that research and development (R&D) needs funding that will help deliver solutions and get them to market quickly.

Matoniene went on to emphasise the importance of the European Investment Advisory Hub. “Setting up an advisory hub must be a one-stop-shop to simplifying the whole project.”

Regarding improvement of the policies related to offshore wind development, and the input from the industry itself with this regard, Daiva Matoniene said: “It is important to clearly define obstacles to growth to simplify procedures for funding.”

Simon Dilks, Head of Nuclear and Renewables Innovation at the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), spoke about the DemoWind project. He wondered why the call for DemoWind 2 received less applications than the one for DemoWind 1, as the DemoWind 2 budget is still not entirely allocated.

According to Dilks, the reason could be that the second call was launched shortly after the one for DemoWind 1.

Since DemoWind is a European Research Area Network (ERA-NET) Cofund Action programme, Simon Dilks also looked at the consequence of the so-called Brexit in this light. “ERA-NET will now be more difficult for UK. We have a real interest to work with North Seas partners to do something like this again,” Dilks said.

The session continued with Leo de Vrees, Senior Advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, first discussing the challenges with multi-use of space in the Netherlands by 2030 and installing thousands of turbines by 2050.

De Vrees pointed out the significance of cooperation between the North Sea countries in installing offshore wind farms, further highlighting the North Sea Power Link island, a concept brought forward by TenneT. The concept saw the signing of an agreement for its development earlier this year by TenneT Germany, TenneT Netherlands, and Danish

Here, Leo de Vrees said the Netherlands and Denmark are keen on constructing the island, however the UK still hasn’t delivered their opinion about it.

Judging by what our speakers spoke about at the session, the only way to speed up offshore wind’s progress is to look at what is hindering it and to address that in the most productive way, which almost exclusively implies cooperation before anything else.

Reporting: Amir Garanović, Tidal Energy Today; Editing: Offshore WIND Staff