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OREAC: 1,400 GW of offshore wind by 2050 possible

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The Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC) is calling on governments to step up their offshore renewable energy commitment to achieve the coalition’s goal of 1,400 GW offshore wind by 2050.

In support of a rapid, global scale-up of ocean-based clean energy, OREAC has published ‘The Power of Our Ocean’ as a guiding document for countries to accelerate offshore wind production and reap the socio-economic, environmental and health benefits it can bring.

In its new report, OREAC outlines a roadmap to support the sustainable development of ocean-based renewable energy and five main building blocks for offshore wind growth: stable policies, visibility of pipelines, resourced institutions, a supportive and dedicated public, and a competitive environment.

Ocean-based strategies can provide 21 percent of the carbon emissions reductions required by 2050 to maintain global warming at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, according to the Ocean Panel. Ocean-based renewable energy, such as offshore wind, provides the most productive decarbonization route and can provide half of these reductions; other types of ocean energy can also play a role if brought to market.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, offshore wind reduces air pollution and water consumption for energy use, providing compound value for investment in welfare and economic gains. The report finds that if the 1,400 GW vision is achieved, this could save $1.88 trillion in pollution-related public health costs – an area currently strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Offshore wind is also an important industry to revitalise coastal communities and support the development of critical infrastructure. The report estimates that a 500 MW offshore wind project with an average 25-year lifetime creates about 10,000 years of full-time employment.

“If we are to have any chance of meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets for global warming, it is crucial that governments significantly scale-up their renewable energy ambitions. Offshore wind is one of the most effective large-scale technologies available that can reduce global carbon emissions and displace fossil fuels. And offshore wind can only reach its full potential with the committed and wide-ranging support of governments. This new report highlights the essential building blocks needed to develop government and industry partnerships and accelerate sustainable deployment of ocean renewable energy around the world”.

Benj Sykes, head of market development, consenting and external Affairs at Ørsted.

“While 1,400 GW may seem like a daunting number compared to the 29 GW of offshore wind installed today, this is only a small fraction of the technical potential available worldwide. We want to ensure that governments around the world are well-equipped to effectively tap into this resource potential. Offshore wind has proven itself to be an important driver of jobs, local investment, affordable energy, grid stability, and energy security in countries across the world, but repeating the success story of offshore wind in new markets is not ‘copy and paste’. OREAC and its members are ready to work with governments to help find the right solutions and roadmaps to scale up their offshore wind markets and reap the associated social, environmental and economic benefits”.

Stephen Bull, senior vice president offshore wind at Equinor.

The full report is authored by BVG Associates and contains data, case studies, and guidelines to achieve OREAC’s vision of 1,400 GW of offshore wind by 2050. OREAC will continue engaging with governments to realise their ocean energy potential in the run-up to the UN Ocean Conference next year.

Arnes Biogradlija

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