Funding awarded for offshore wind and CCS colocation projects


THE Offshore Wind and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Colocation Forum has commissioned two “vital” research projects to test the viability of collocating offshore wind and CCS.

The research projects, known as Project Colocate and Project Anemone, will be delivered by the University of Aberdeen, with funding from The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland.

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The forum’s ambition is to create a pipeline of potential test & demonstration sites, possibly in the central North Sea, which has been identified as having significant potential for future colocation of CCS and offshore wind. 

“There is a pressing need for establishing a robust workflow to assess, critically evaluate and identify suitable and viable areas of the seabed for colocation of offshore wind and CCS,” said Professor John Underhill, Director for Energy Transition and Professor of Geoscience at the University of Aberdeen.

He added: “Project Colocate will critically assess the future potential of the seabed for the co-existence of offshore wind and CCS, helping to inform the work regulators and other key stakeholders are doing on marine spatial planning to optimise its potential.”

The UK Government is targeting the dleivery of 50 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, as well as capturing 20-30million tons of CO2 per year by 2030.

“The offshore wind and CCS capability of the UK needs to develop at a rapid rate if the country is to meet its 2050 net zero target and build electricity supply,” said Adrian Topham, Chair of the Offshore Wind and CCS Colocation Forum at The Crown Estate.

The targets will place more demand on finite seabed space, making the colocation increasingly important.

Topham continued: “The Crown Estate is determined to maximise the potential of the seabed by ensuring a coordinated approach to its management that enables the colocation of offshore wind and CCS infrastructure. This is in keeping with The Crown Estate’s long-term and holistic approach to managing the land and seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland in a way that supports net zero and energy security, whilst protecting the natural environment. 

“Project Colocate will identify areas of the seabed that are potentially viable for colocation, whilst Project Anemone will help uncover how future practical demonstration might proceed. Together, both projects will help pave the way for test and demonstration, as well as facilitating greater collaboration and understanding between these two vital sectors.”

Both projects will build on the Offshore Wind and CCS Colocation Forum’s Spatial Characterisation Report, which identified areas of seabed where offshore wind and CCS will overlap.

The North Sea Transition Authority’s Seismic Imaging Report also explored various options for monitoring carbon storage and offshore wind sites to help resolve possible colocation issues.

Tom Mallows, Head of Offshore Development for Emerging Technologies and Infrastructure, at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Our ScotWind Leasing round, which saw the successful awarding of 20 projects with a combined intended installed capacity of 27.6GW, and our most recent offshore wind leasing round INTOG (Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas), demonstrates the huge clean energy opportunity which offshore wind offers. 

“It also highlights how important Project Colocate will be in helping establish a clear set of measures and tools to help ensure CCS is provided for in a considered and complementary way alongside offshore wind as an essential component of the transition to a decarbonised economy.

“As co-sponsors of Project Colocate, we look forward to supporting CCS and offshore wind developers to work together in a way that optimises the use of our seabed’s vital resources in helping achieve net-zero.”

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