Ocean energy and offshore wind pinpoint collaboration areas

The members of International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) collaborative framework on ocean energy and offshore renewables have identified 13 topics of focus to advance the sector forward.

Illustration (Courtesy of IRENA)
Illustration (Courtesy of IRENA)

Offshore renewables, including offshore wind, wave, tidal, ocean thermal, and floating solar PV, will witness substantial growth in capacity over the next decade and play an essential role in the global energy transformation, according to IRENA.

In this context, representatives from 40 countries gathered to identify collaboration areas and agree on concrete actions to accelerate progress and ensure rapid uptake of these promising technologies.

According to IRENA’s projections, global offshore wind and ocean energy installed capacity will reach 228 GW and 10 GW respectively by 2030.

During his welcoming remarks, IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera stressed offshore renewables’ importance in meeting growing energy demands and improving living conditions.

“Offshore renewables have the potential to meet more than four times the global energy demand of today, foster a blue economy, and bring socio-economic benefits to some of the most vulnerable areas to climate change such as small island territories and coastal areas”, La Camera said.

This is the second second meeting of the Collaborative Framework on Ocean Energy/Offshore Renewables, and included participation, insights, and support from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), and Ocean Energy Europe (OEE).

Representing the ocean energy sector in the collaborative framework, Rémi Gruet, CEO of OEE, suggested that ocean energy will become a game-changer, estimating that the sector can provide more than 1.2 million jobs worldwide by 2050.

Gruet also underscored the predictability of ocean energy, which complements the variable renewable energy sources, as a compelling reason to make wave and tidal energy technologies essential additions to power systems that will be dominated by solar PV and wind.

When it comes to offshore wind, 90% of global installed offshore wind capacity is currently commissioned and operated in the North Sea and the nearby Atlantic Ocean, according to IRENA.

Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC, attributed the rapid uptake of offshore wind in Europe to regional cooperation on interconnection, marine spatial planning (MSP), and sector coupling in the North Sea.

Backwell also highlighted the critical role that the collaborative Framework can play in fostering similar regional partnerships in other parts of the world.

Members also agreed on 13 topics of focus for the collaborative Framework, around the areas of technology development, research and innovation, market incentives, and sustainability.

The topics include analyses on accelerating technology cost reduction, grid integration, resource mapping, and coupling of offshore renewables with Power-to-X technologies.