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28 Nov 2023

Harnessing the winds of change

Harnessing the power of the ocean Cerianne Cummings web

In a world where the relentless march of progress is fuelled by an insatiable hunger for energy, the choice between destruction and salvation has never been more stark. The burning of fossil fuels has powered our civilisation for centuries, but it has come at a great cost. Our planet is reeling from the consequences of climate change, and the time for change is now. Embracing a cleaner and more sustainable energy mix, as we journey through this transition, is the key to preserving our world and securing a brighter future for generations to come.

The Transition: A Race Against Time

The urgency of transitioning to a more sustainable energy mix cannot be overstated. It's a daunting task, but one that is absolutely critical for the survival of our planet. Change this monumental doesn’t happen at the flick of a switch. But although the fossil fuel industry still dominates global energy production, the transition to more sustainable alternatives is underway. According to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy sources account for around a third of the world's electricity, and this number continues to rise.

One of the most promising developments in this transition is the rapid scaling of offshore wind energy.

Harnessing the Power of Wind

Offshore wind energy is a powerful solution in the fight against climate change. It involves the construction of wind turbines in the open waters of our oceans, where strong and consistent winds provide a potent source of clean energy. Over the past five years, offshore wind energy has seen significant growth and innovation.

Scaling Up Offshore Wind

The expansion of offshore wind farms has been nothing short of remarkable. In 2019, the total global offshore wind capacity stood at approximately 29.1 gigawatts. Fast forward to 2023, and that capacity has nearly doubled, surpassing 55 gigawatts. Europe has taken the lead in this clean energy revolution, with countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark spearheading the charge.

Barriers to Entry

Despite its potential, the offshore wind industry has faced several challenges. The initial investment and construction of offshore wind farms can be prohibitively expensive. Additionally, the technology for building and maintaining these structures in deep waters has required significant advancements. There have also been concerns about the impact on marine ecosystems and local communities.

Advancements in Offshore Wind

In the last five years, numerous advancements have been made to overcome these barriers. Technological innovations have allowed for the development of larger, more efficient wind turbines, reducing costs and increasing energy production. Additionally, more accurate assessments of wind resources in offshore locations have enabled the selection of optimal sites for wind farm construction.

Moreover, advances in construction techniques and the ability to operate in deeper waters have expanded the potential for offshore wind energy development. Floating wind turbines have become a game-changer, allowing energy production in even deeper waters, opening up vast new areas for potential projects.

Environmental concerns are also being addressed through better research and improved designs that minimise the impact on marine ecosystems. Collaboration between governments, environmental organisations, and the wind industry has led to increased awareness and efforts to protect marine life and habitats.

The Way Forward

While we celebrate the progress made in offshore wind energy, it is essential to recognise that this is just the beginning. The path to a sustainable energy mix is a marathon, not a sprint. The world must continue to invest in research and development, reduce the environmental footprint of these projects, and create policies that incentivise the growth of the offshore wind industry.

The transition to a sustainable energy mix is nothing less than a global call to action. It demands courage, innovation, and commitment from all corners of the world, which is why I am urging all leaders at COP 28 to take action. Offshore wind, with its remarkable growth and ongoing advancements, is a shining example of the potential we can unlock when we work together to protect our planet. It's a beacon of hope in a world that desperately needs it, and it's a crucial step towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future. Let us march forward with determination, for the time for change is now, and the future of our planet hangs in the balance.

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