By Sian Lloyd-Rees, Managing Director of Aker Offshore Wind UK
Since we last met for the Global Offshore Wind conference in London, the challenge of meeting our energy needs has come to dominate the global conversation.
With the triple issues of climate change as highlighted at COP26, international disruption to energy security, and soaring energy bills, the renewables sector has stepped into the spotlight like never before.
The current energy crisis is creating real hardship for people and offshore wind can play its part in addressing the issues we face. So this year’s Global Offshore Wind conference in Manchester, #RUKGOW22, has come at the right time, giving all of us the opportunity to engage, share and discuss our progress in supporting both energy security and a route to net zero.
It is a challenging time for the energy industry and floating offshore wind has the potential to create affordable clean energy at scale. While we need even greater ambition, the UK’s new energy security strategy with its target of up to 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030, including 5GW from floating, is welcome.
But it’s not just about energy security – energy stability is also key here in the UK and there are huge opportunities for power-to-x in the wind energy system.
We’re certainly not short of wind in the UK. One of the major challenges – and opportunities – in the future will be using that surplus for conversion and storage to ensure a stable and green energy supply.
At Aker Offshore Wind we are ready to deliver the floating offshore wind that the UK can deploy at a commercial scale, and we are already developing projects around the globe. The scale and infrastructure needed to ramp up our renewable energy to what is required is huge. It will need effective policy and collaboration across government, industry and investors to turn aspiration into reality.
That’s one reason we need to increase the pace and predictability of leasing rounds, and I hope we will hear more about this from government ministers at GOW22.
Pace and predictability will also support building the underpinning industrial strength, moving quickly to develop the technology needed to support a global industry from here in the UK.
We already have a solid base of floating solutions and engineering capability here in the North Sea; if we make the right choices now, we can be technology leaders as the industry further evolves.
Floating offshore wind doesn’t need to be a standalone solution either – it is also a key component of the integrated energy agenda needed to deliver the UK’s renewables ambition.
In addition, we are working in tandem on the development of green hydrogen which can work concurrently with floating offshore wind to deliver low carbon energy. Such projects, along with traditional offshore floating wind leasing rounds, come with major economic benefits as well, if we can create the thousands of high-skilled green jobs committed to by government and the industry.
By working together and sharing ideas, we can map our path to a cleaner, greener future.
This week, it is our job to amplify the massive potential of offshore wind for the UK and the world, improving the collaboration needed across all stakeholders so that we can meet the ambition and deliver the transformation we need.
To hear more from Sian and the Aker Solutions team attend Global Offshore Wind 2022 from 21 - 22 June at Manchester Central.