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Herculean effort needed to meet global offshore wind targets

Published on 1 September 2022

Rhys Jones, Technical Adviser, Marine Renewable Energy at the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) follows up on IMCA CEO Allen Leatt’s recent article on contracting in the global offshore wind market, with a deeper dive into the activities of the association’s Marine Renewable Energy Committee (MREC).

For 50 years IMCA has led the way for marine contracting in offshore energy on safety, standardisation, responsibility, global reach and collaboration. The association’s proven track record of technical excellence and integrity has driven continuous improvement in the sector. As the global energy sector transitions, IMCA provides continuity and a global reference for developing marine energy resources for our low-carbon future through our long-established MREC.

2021 saw offshore wind’s most successful year to date. Globally 21.1 GW of offshore wind reached grid connection, bringing overall capacity to 56 GW a year-on-year growth of 58%.

IMCA Contact

Rhys Jones
Technical Adviser – Marine Renewable Energy

Governments worldwide are increasingly aware of the opportunities offshore wind provides, hence the rapid increase in targets especially in response to the current climate and energy crisis. This will help to ensure a secure energy supply while meeting climate targets as rapidly escalating fuel and power costs result in inflationary pressure on economies.

Policy makers from across the political spectrum globally have recognised the answer rests in the transition to renewable energy. Offshore wind is key to delivering energy transition at scale, creating national and local employment, transitioning the existing energy workforce, driving economic growth, reducing energy prices, and promoting energy security.

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) puts the current 2030 global target for offshore wind capacity close to 380 GW, calculating that to meet these targets requires approximately 70 GW to be installed each year. The current level sits at around 20 GW p.a. For these targets to be met will require a herculean effort on the part of governments and industry all working in tandem.

IMCA members have been crucial to the installation of virtually every major offshore wind farm installed in the western economies. Unfortunately, the marine contracting sector faces serious challenges which risk the delivery of global offshore wind targets as our CEO, Allen Leatt, outlined clearly in the previous issue of OSJ, explaining that a collaborative review of risk allocation and contractual terms is required. Anything less endangers the future of the sector. To support this IMCA has developed its ‘general contracting principles’ supported by a specific offshore wind contracting principles supplement to be released shortly.

IMCA members are committed to supporting the offshore wind sector from Board level and through MREC’s work. The Committee currently leads support and guidance to the sector on issues such as lifting operations, personal locator beacons, and dynamic positioning; and continues to work with G+ (whose General Manager, Kate Harvey, is an IMCA Board member), for safety is the constant golden thread running through all the association does.

IMCA’s MREC is working with industry partners focused on the energy transition training challenge and has led the way on the mutual recognition of competence and training for offshore safety. It foresaw and understood the need for clarity on this issue. In November 2020 it released guidance C018 ‘Basic Safety Training Requirements for Personnel Employed in the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector’. This clearly sets out the foundation level of health and safety training, as well as medical fitness needed to work on and from vessels employed on an offshore wind energy project. We continue to advocate to cross-sector partners for wider acceptance of the framework on behalf of members and the whole offshore workforce.

IMCA’s ‘Walk to Work Guidelines’ (M 254) – won an industry Safety Award in 2022.

IMCA is here to work alongside governments and industry globally as we all undertake the herculean effort designed to meet those challenging targets