07 July 2021

In pursuit of net zero: new forum to unlock co-location opportunities for CCUS and offshore wind

The Crown Estate today announces the formation of the Offshore Wind and CCUS Co-location Forum which will identify the key challenges and opportunities associated with the co-location of Offshore Wind and Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) infrastructure, as well as solutions to help make this a reality where needed

Following the advice of the Climate Change Committee, both offshore wind and CCUS have a significant role to play in helping the UK achieve its net zero by 2050 obligations. As suitable space on the seabed is limited, and as capacities for both will need to increase to meet this target, it is anticipated that that there will be a number of areas that will require infrastructure in the same location[i].

Led by The Crown Estate, the Forum brings together the offshore wind and CCUS industries including the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) and RenewableUK, as well as Government and Crown Estate Scotland. It will provide strategic coordination of co-location research and activity and help maximise the potential of the seabed for these two critical activities.

The Forum has been developed in response to the recommendations of the ‘CCUS & Offshore Wind Overlap Study’, which examined the risks that may result from the development of offshore wind and CCUS projects in similar locations. The central recommendation of the study is the formation of an oversight body to co-ordinate future activity in this area. Further details of key findings and recommendations are included in the notes to editors.

The study has been funded by The Crown Estate with support from Crown Estate Scotland and the OGA, and was conducted by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE) together with the Net Zero Technology Centre (formerly called OGTC).

Huub den Rooijen, Managing Director of Marine at The Crown Estate, says: “Reaching the nation’s net zero target is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Offshore renewable technologies and carbon storage have a critical role to play in reaching this target and we are focussed on maximising the potential of the seabed to enable their sustainable growth.

“With the seabed more in demand than ever before, collaboration will be key to unlocking this potential. We are therefore delighted that industry, Government and Crown Estate Scotland are joining us in this ground-breaking Forum which will provide the knowledge and evidence to enable the CCUS and offshore wind sectors to flourish and deliver innovative, world-class solutions to tackle the climate challenge.”

Olivia Powis, Head of UK Office at the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA), says:We are delighted to be part of the new Offshore Wind and CCUS Co-location Forum, bringing together two industries that will be critical to achieving net zero. As the UK prepares to host COP26 later this year, it is vital that we work together to bring forward all solutions that will be needed to solve the climate crisis.

“Offshore wind is already a UK success story and through initiatives such as this forum, we can develop the framework that will bring forward CCUS projects in line with the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget – thereby creating another tremendous success story, with high UK content.”

Scott Robertson, Director of Operations at the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) says: “The OGA is fully committed to achieving the net zero target, and is already proactively driving key deliverables on the energy transition pathway to net zero. The UK Continental Shelf has delivered huge value for the UK over the last 50 years, and it will become an increasingly crowded place as we progress the energy transition, which is the next chapter in the story of value delivery for the UK from the UKCS. 

“This Forum will build further on the OGA-led Energy Integration Project which saw great collaboration between North Sea regulators, and the OGA is delighted to work further with The Crown Estate to ensure the right conditions are created to secure Net Zero delivery in the UK by 2050. Over the past 50 years the UK Continental Shelf has delivered huge benefits, and it will continue to do so as the energy transition brings new challenges and opportunities.”

Colin Palmer, Director of Marine at Crown Estate Scotland says: Carbon Capture and Storage presents a great opportunity for Scotland and has the potential to combine successfully alongside offshore wind development where we are already taking major steps forward. This forum and associated research will offer a potential pathway towards helping ensure the two industries can work alongside each other to help us take strides towards a net zero energy future.”

The Forum’s first priority will be to define and shape workstreams and activities centred on resolving technical, operational and regulatory overlap issues. The first meeting will take place towards the end of the month.

[i] The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult together with the Net Zero Technology Centre: CCUS & Offshore Wind Overlap Study, June 2021.

 

‘CCUS & Offshore Wind Overlap Study’: Key findings and recommendations include:

  • Whilst offshore Wind and CCUS projects should be planned to avoid overlap where possible, infrastructure in the same location is potentially feasible with appropriate mitigation
  • Risks associated with overlapping projects include:
    • A lack of clarity over how issues associated with overlap, such as development planning and precedence, can be handled
    • Ability to physically perform CCUS Monitoring, Measurement and Verification (MMV) surveys in amongst offshore wind farm infrastructure
    • Co-ordination of increased offshore operations in one specific area.
  • Immediate mitigation actions identified include a particular focus on good co-ordination and communication between projects when planning activities such as surveys, infrastructure and operational safety measures including helicopter and diver operations.
  • Longer-term mitigation actions identified include:
  • The development of a co-location forum (announced today)
  • A proactive review of where projects could potentially overlap and ensuring a combined approach to planning in those areas
  • Developing alternative CCUS store characterisation and monitoring technologies which are more compatible with offshore wind projects.

 

 

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