OGTC and ORE Catapult

OGTC and ORE Catapult in energy transition alliance

Two UK energy technology and innovation organisations have announced a five-year collaboration to deliver next generation energy technologies and accelerate the United Kingdom’s transition to a net zero future.

Illustration: Hywind Tampen floating wind farm; Credit: Equinor

The Energy Transition Alliance (ETA), formed by The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, will collaborate with the energy industry to drive a focused, funded programme to further develop advanced technologies, including the next generation of hydrogen production and floating offshore wind.

This collaboration aims to transform the energy sector, accelerate the UK’s transition to a net-zero future, ensure a reliable and secure source of power for the UK as well as an indigenous and competitive 21st Century energy technology sector.

In addition, OGTC and ORE Catapult say that of vital importance to the future of the energy sector will be transition of supply chain, skills and workforce from the oil and gas sector to renewables.

The partners in the ETA are launching a programme of five initial projects, which include:

UK supply chain specific floating wind foundation competition: stimulating innovation in floating wind, to reduce the cost of floating foundations by 25-30 per cent;

AC/DC Footprint miniaturisation: developing a prototype AC/DC conversion technology that reduces CO2, has a footprint 10 times smaller and 5 times cheaper than existing technologies and is also anticipated to generate £7.7 billion savings to industry;

Power from shore: a call to industry for technologies which reduce the cost of power from shore, including cross-operator projects, and can also help industry eliminate offshore platform CO2 emissions which currently represent 2 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions;

UK offshore renewables supply chain deep dive study: maximising the full potential of the UK supply chain in the production, installation and decommissioning of offshore renewables, creating 27,000 jobs in offshore wind by 2030;

Sustainable wind turbine decommissioning: developing a commercially viable solution for the cost-effective recycling and re-processing of wind turbine blades, which is expected to bring $1 billion value to market.

The ETA is funded in its first year by the OGTC and ORE Catapult, and will look to government and industry, among other sources, to secure funding for future years.

UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

“The UK’s innovation will drive a more sustainable oil and gas industry and the development of our world-leading renewables sector on the path to net zero emissions by 2050.

“Collaboration across the energy sector will be essential to achieving our climate goals, and it is great to see the Energy Transition Alliance working towards developing new technologies, creating green jobs and helping the transition to a cleaner future.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s Energy Minister, said:

“I warmly welcome today’s announcement of the Energy Transition Alliance and its aim to integrate net-zero technologies in the North Sea and I commend those behind its establishment.

“This new Alliance strongly complements the Scottish Government’s recently launched £62 million Energy Transition Fund, designed to support our energy sector and help us move more quickly towards net zero by 2045. The establishment of the Alliance also supports the work of our Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council to grow supply chain opportunities as we approach the forthcoming ScotWind leasing round.

“The technologies supported by the Alliance will boost digitalisation and automation and accelerate North Sea decarbonisation as well as supporting Scotland’s aspirations for offshore wind and floating wind.

“This will benefit the wider Scottish energy sector and supply chain, maximise the economic benefits and support sustainable jobs in the long term, fully in line with our commitment to a just transition.

“This latest initiative, which will help deliver a forward looking, low-carbon recovery and diversify the energy sector’s workforce, is another step towards a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy.”

Colette Cohen, OGTC CEO, said:

“The creation of the Energy Transition Alliance comes at a pivotal time for our industry and the future of the North Sea as we transition to a net zero basin. Technology, innovation and a willingness to work cross sector will be essential if we are to successfully deliver on our net zero goal.

“This Alliance is an exciting step towards a more integrated energy future for the UK. Our partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult harnesses the expertise of both organisations to accelerate the UK’s energy transition.”

Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult chief executive, also said:

“The energy transition to deliver net zero presents a massive opportunity for the UK. Innovation to meet the global demand for green energy technologies will ensure that we retain our world-leading position in offshore renewables, creating many thousands of jobs and significant economic growth”.

“Floating offshore wind in particular is an area of massive potential, and the oil and gas industry’s extensive experience of operating in the marine environment for many decades can be the enabler that ensures that the UK not only delivers a complete energy transition, but also a sustainable, world-leading green energy industry.”