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Climate

Global floating offshore wind project pipeline grows by one-third over 12 months

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A NEW report published today by RenewableUK shows that the total pipeline of floating offshore wind projects has grown significantly in the last 12 months in terms of capacity from 185 gigawatts a year ago to 244GW now – a 32% increase.

The number of projects has increased globally during that time from 230 to 285. The pipeline includes projects at any stage: fully operational, under construction, approved, in the planning system awaiting a decision or at an early stage of development.

The EnergyPulse Insights report was compiled by RenewableUK’s data analysts to coincide with the opening of our 2-day Floating Offshore Wind 2023 conference and exhibition in Aberdeen.

So far, 227 megawatts of floating wind are fully operational across 14 projects in 7 countries. Norway has the most with 94MW across 3 projects. The UK is second with 80MW (2 projects), Portugal has 25MW (1 project) and China is fourth with 19MW across 3 projects. Japan has 5MW (2 projects), Spain 2.225MW (2 projects) and France 2MW (1 project).

Globally, 46MW are under construction (3 projects), 576MW are consented or in the pre-construction phase (11 projects), 68GW are in the planning system or have a lease agreement (80 projects), and 175GW are in early development or applying for a lease (177 projects).​

Nearly two-thirds of floating wind capacity announced so far worldwide are being developed in European waters (160GW), 14% is in the UK (35GW – of which 29GW is in Scottish waters). Outside Europe, projects are being developed mainly off the west coast of the USA, the southeast coast of Australia and South Korea.​

Although Italy has the largest project pipeline (40,071MW), nearly all its 47 projects are at an early stage of development, with only one (90MW) submitted into the planning system so far.

Floating Offshore Wind Total Portfolio By Country​ (MW)

The report also shows that demand for floating foundations is expected to ramp up fast, with the potential for 472 in the UK by the end of 2032. There could be 1,369 floating foundations in Europe and 1,924 for projects globally by the end of 2032.

RenewableUK predicts that floating wind will represent well over half of the UK’s offshore wind generation by 2050, generating around £43.6bn in economic value and more than 29,000 jobs. It will also play a critical role in regenerating our coastal communities; with £4bn required to transform up to eleven ports across the UK into industrial hubs for mass roll-out of floating wind by the turn of the decade. There is up to £3.6bn in development funds ready to be released across 24GW of floating capacity with leasing secured in UK waters.

RenewableUK believes that the Government’s target of reaching 5GW of floating wind in UK waters by 2030 remains achievable, but the next CfD auction and future rounds must be underpinned by sustainable parameters in order to maximise deployment, drive down costs and incentivise investment in domestic supply chains. This year’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction failed to secure any new floating wind capacity, despite 250MW of floating wind capacity being shovel-ready.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail, Co-Chair the Floating Wind Taskforce said:

“This report shows that although the UK is a world leader in floating wind, other countries are eyeing the massive economic opportunity offered by this innovative technology and are determined to get a slice of the action. The international competition for investment is intensifying rapidly.

“We urgently need a step-change from our partners in Government to ensure that this cutting-edge industry can attract billions in investment to boost deployment and build up new supply chains, rather than focussing solely on a race to the bottom on prices.

“To ensure that the UK seizes the industrial benefits of developing state-of-the-art technology and revitalising ports around the country, we need to see sustainable prices to enable stepping-stone projects to go ahead in a successful auction next year, and every year going forward. Leveraging these projects will enable us to replicate the cost reductions we’ve seen in fixed-foundation offshore wind, as well as catalysing supply chain development. We’re determined to make the 2020s a decade of acceleration for floating wind”.

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Climate

Solidarity between generations ‘crucial to help tackle Climate Change’

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MEMBERS of the Senedd’s Cross-Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity are working together to identify ways to bring different generations together in schools and other educational settings to encourage new action to help tackle climate change.

The impact of climate change was a key agenda item at the Group’s latest meeting, and members agreed that while the younger generation is often most associated with the climate change movement, older people also have significant concerns, and a vital role to play in tackling this threat.  

A presentation from Age Cymru highlighted that older people are at particular risk from the effects of climate change, which impacts on their well-being and ability to age well. Hotter summers are creating health risks for older people, for example, especially those with heart issues and other chronic health conditions, while colder winters are increasing fuel costs and forcing many into fuel poverty.

While stereotypes often suggest that older people are not concerned about climate change or its impact, and are not prepared to take action to protect the environment, this is not reflected in data, which shows that 92% of people over 65 are concerned about climate change and that nearly three-quarters of people over 65 think the government is doing too little to respond to climate change.

However, these kinds of myths and misconceptions can create tensions between generations which can act as a barrier to action. Encouraging solidarity is therefore important to enable knowledge-sharing and to inspire fresh perspectives and new ideas.

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE said: “We know that climate change projects that have brought generations together have been successful and the action agreed by the Group will enable more work like this to inspire fresh perspectives and new ideas.

“It is important that people of all ages work together to play their part in tackling climate change and action across all generations will be important to support this.”

Delyth Jewell MS, Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity, said: “We should not see the climate crisis as an issue that divides people: across all generations, our experience of this crisis must bind us together in a firm resolve.  From flooding, wildfires and heatwaves that already blight our communities, it would be easy for us to lose hope, or to pit generations against one another.  But wasting our energies in such a way would only intensify isolation; it would do nothing to combat the crises that face us.

“There is so much good work going on, intergenerationally, to address the climate crisis. From projects linking care homes with schools, from comics being developed to share stories, and workshops that link different generations together, there is so much we have to celebrate. Chairing the Cross Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity always reminds me of the wonderful, defiant work that’s going on across Wales. That gives me hope – and we need to get better at telling those stories.”

The Commissioner added: “There is often a misconception that older people don’t care about climate change, which is simply not true, something that pits younger and older generations against one another and feeds into wider ageist narratives that can lead to discrimination.

“Given the scale of the issues we face, it is essential that generations are united and work together to tackle the threats posed by climate change.”

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Climate

No current plans for clean air zones in Pembrokeshire

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council has no current plans to introduce clean air zones or road user charging, councillors heard.

In a submitted question heard at the May meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, member of the public Sharon Purcell asked: “In relation to the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill, what advice has the council received regarding planned clean air zones or road user charging with a view to introducing schemes to address these issues in the future?”

She also asked a second traffic-related question: “Are there any plans for Local Traffic Neighbourhoods to be introduced and if so, where?”

Answering both questions, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services Cllr Rhys Sinnett said there were no plans across Wales currently, under any guidance received for the first question.

He also said there were no plans for any Local Traffic Neighbourhoods in Pembrokeshire.

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Climate

90 percent of Rhosygilwen turbine power would be sent to national grid

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A SCHEME for a £1m “20-storey-high” wind turbine to keep a listed Pembrokeshire mansion viable has been backed at a meeting of full council despite members hearing 90 percent of the power generated would be sent to the national grid.

Mr and Mrs Glen Peters of Western Solar Ltd sought permission for a single turbine on land near the Grade II-listed Rhosygilwen Mansion, which includes an arts and functions building known as Neuaddydderwen.

Mr Peters has previously said the application for a turbine would ensure the long-term viability of Rhosygilwen, acquired some 30 years previously as a fire-damaged house that was about to be pulled down.

He has said that, despite 200-year-old Rhosygilwen using power from its solar farm, the first of its kind in Wales, it has been hit with “huge increases in importing energy from the grid” during the winter months.

Planners have repeatedly been recommended to refuse the scheme by officers, but backed it at both their March and April committee meetings.

The March backing meant the application returned to the April meeting for ratification after a ‘cooling off’ period; the application having been deferred at the January meeting pending a site visit.

It was initially recommended for refusal in January for several reasons, including potential harm to the setting of the Grade-II-listed house and grounds, and fears of threats to the safe operation of West Wales Airport at Aberporth in neighbouring Ceredigion, some 9.5 kilometres away.

The last concern was later withdrawn.

Officers have said the scheme “would not protect or enhance the setting [of Rhosygilwen] but rather would result in significant harm to this interest of acknowledged importance”.

They have also warned any backing of the scheme against policy recommendations could set a precedent for similar developments.

As the scheme was from the development plan, the final decision had to be made by full council, meeting on May 9, where it was recommended the committee support for the scheme was not endorsed.

The scheme had been twice backed by the planning committee partly on the grounds of its contribution of green power to help tackle the ongoing climate emergency.

Speaking at the May 9 full council meeting, Councillor Tessa Hodgson questioned how much power from the proposal would be fed back into the grid and how much would go to power Rhosygilwen.

She was told that 90 percent from the “medium scale turbine” would be fed back into the grid, generating a tariff for the applicant, 10 percent powering the mansion and associated buildings.

Councillor Mike Stoddart described the amount of power produced by turbines as “miniscule,” saying it would require some 2,000 to equal the power output of Pembroke power station.

“It’s not going to make any material difference to the amount of carbon dioxide we output,” he told fellow councillors.

A move to approve the scheme, made by planning committee chairman Cllr Jacob Williams, was supported by 37 votes to 18, with two abstentions.

Objector Paul Robertson-Marriott has previously said the “20-storey” turbine would have “a detrimental impact” on surrounding properties and the proposal would “ride roughshod over the status of the listed building for economic benefit.”

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