Oil & Gas Technology Centre and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to team up on floating wind, blade recycling, and offshore platform decarbonisation
The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC) have teamed up to create the Energy Transition Alliance (ETA), a five-year collaboration geared at developing and scaling technologies required for the UK's transition to net zero.
The newly-formed ETA intends to initially focus on five different areas, including running a supply chain floating wind foundation competition, producing a major UK offshore renewables supply chain study, and developing wind turbine blade recycling and reprocessing solutions.
Further priorities are to develop a prototype of green AC/DC conversion technology and plans to work with industry to reduce the cost of 'power from shore' technologies to help cut the carbon emissions of offshore oil and gas platforms.
OGTC CEO Colette Cohen said the alliance's formation came "at a pivotal time" for the industry, as the North Sea transitioned 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," she added.
The OGTC and ORE Catapult confirmed that they would fund the ETA's first year of operations. In subsequent years, the partners said they expect to seek funding from government and industry.
Andrew Jamieson, chief executive of OREC, stressed that energy transition presented 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," he explained.
He added that the development of the floating wind sector would benefit from tapping the oil and gas industry's offshore experience.
"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," he said.
Ministers in both Westminster and Holyrood applauded the move. UK Energy and Clean Growth Minster Kwasi Kwarteng said collaboration across the energy sector was "essential" to the country meeting its climate goals.
"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," he said.
Meanwhile, Scotland's Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse also "warmly welcomed" the aim to decarbonise energy production in the North Sea.
"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," Wheelhouse said. "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."
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